Cox: Offense Does Job Without TDs

Quarterback Brandon Cox likes the improvement the offense showed last week against Florida but says they've still got a long way to go.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn's offense had its share of problems Saturday night, but in the end they didn't seem to matter as the unit helped the Tigers to a big 27-17 victory over number two Florida.

Holding the ball and moving it well against a talented Gator defense, Auburn's offense did its job in the victory. Quarterback Brandon Cox says although his group didn't play perfect, the offense was part of a team victory and that's what counts.

"If you had told me before the game that we wouldn't score a touchdown, but still win the game I would have said you were crazy," Cox says. "The thing is offensively we moved the ball. We held on to the ball and beat them by a good 12 minutes in the time of possession. That was a key to winning the game then our defense and special teams came up huge for us.

"In the Arkansas game all three phases were off, but against Florida we were all three on. We played as a team and that's what we were preaching the whole week."

While the offense got the job done it wasn't a perfect game by any means. Four times the Auburn offense got into the red zone in the first half only to come away with three field goals. The points proved to be huge for the Tigers, but touchdowns instead of field goals could have broken the game open early. Cox says that the offense was disappointed not to finish drives, but it gave the defense the rest they needed to handle Florida's offense.

"Their front four had come up huge throughout the season," Cox says. "We had some success running the ball and that opened up some play-action passes, which we did pretty well at. Even though we didn't score touchdowns we moved the ball and held on to the ball and kept it out of Florida's hands.

"You saw in the first half when they had the ball they did something with it," he notes. "Give credit to our defense. They came up huge in the second half. That second half learning experience will help us down the line this week."

Cox takes the snap against the Gators.

For Cox this season has been a tough experience as he has fought injuries since the third game of the season against LSU. Not full speed, Cox says he got into some bad habits throwing the football that have caused him some problems in recent weeks. On Saturday Cox completed 18 of 27 passes for 182 yards and showed more zip on the ball than he's had all year. He says that he's feeling better each week and hopefully that will show in his play.

"Other than having a knee brace and my ankle taped up, that kind of slowed me down, without that I was pretty much 100 percent," Cox says. "This past three weeks throwing the ball was difficult for me. I think my mechanics are still kind of messed up from that. I'm trying to get those back where they were. This next week will help because I'm as close to 100 percent as I think I'll get."

Not only did the play of Cox improve but so did that of second game center Jason Bosley. Struggling in the first half mentally with some of the things the Gators showed, the sophomore got better in the second half.

"He came along big time from last week," Cox says. "That was his first start ever and I know from personal experience that when you get out there you are kind of spinning and you don't know what's going on. He persevered through it, learned from his mistakes, and had a great game."

With the victory over Florida the Tigers have jumped squarely back into the BCS race as Auburn is number four in the first rankings of the 2006 season. Very familiar with the pressure associated near the top of the polls, Cox says that the team is using the rankings as motivation this week because of all the negative talk that came last week.

"We were getting ready to practice and the word starting going around the locker room that we were number four in the BCS," Cox says. "Guys were shaking their heads because we were number 11 in the polls this last week and everybody had been not giving us any credit after losing to Arkansas.

"Everybody was down on us thinking we were out of everything. The coaches were saying all week that if we won that game against Florida we would be right back in it. When we heard we were number four it gave everybody a little get-up in their steps to get back after it this week."

Before the Tigers can think about the BCS and rankings, they have to take care of business on the field. That begins this week against a 2-4 Tulane team that Auburn should have no major problems with on homecoming. Of course the same could be said for Buffalo a few weeks ago. Cox says that this team has matured a great deal in the last month and that should help get ready for the Green Wave.

"I think the Buffalo game and losing to Arkansas is going to help us down the line," Cox says. "The guys learned to put things behind them and focus on one game at a time. That's what we're going to have to do. Saturday night was great, but we've got to put that behind us and focus on this week."


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