Auburn, Ala.--Just when it appeared Auburn junior quarterback Brandon Cox was getting healthy, the victory over Ole Miss left him with yet another injury to deal with. Struggling with a sore ankle and knee for much of the season, Cox is now bothered by a new injury as one of the few hits he suffered against the Rebels left him with a sore bursa sac in his right knee. Cox says that while the injury had a little swelling on Sunday it shouldn't be anything difficult to overcome this week.
"It was fine during the game," Cox says. "After it was a little sore but it loosened up. By Tuesday when I get some of the stiffness and swelling out of it things will be all right. I think with it not being my back leg it won't be as big of a factor."
Located between bone and skin in the knee, shoulder and elbow, bursa sacs allow the skin to slide over the joints without complication. When they are irritated or inflamed it causes pain and discomfort in the joint. That is what Cox is dealing with but says that Sunday's day off should help him tremendously.
"Coming out of the training room at 4 o'clock on Sunday and getting to leave is pretty nice," Cox says. "Seeing them (young guys) out of the field made it even better."
Cox was solid against the Rebels despite throwing an interception after a string of over 100 attempts without throwing a pick.
That Cox will be fine is good news for an Auburn offense that is just starting to look like the unit everyone expected coming into the season. Saturday against Ole Miss the Tigers put up 430 yards of offense and moved the ball at will against the Rebels. The only problem is that once again it failed to produce touchdowns. Only twice did the Tigers cross the goal line on the way to 23 points. Cox says that's something they have to improve on before it costs them in a big way.
"We've taken steps forward each game the last few weeks offensively," Cox says. "We've gotten better and have been running the ball better and throwing the ball better. It still comes down to scoring touchdowns. If we can score touchdowns this can be a great offensive team. Right now we're pretty good but if we score touchdowns we'll be great.
"It seems like we really haven't had any big plays offensively this year," he adds. "We just kind of methodically move down the field and when we get in the red zone we kind of stall. We need to have some plays break and score touchdowns without getting in the red zone. That would open up things."
Against Ole Miss the Tigers constantly shot themselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties, something that hadn't been a problem this year for the most part. Playing for the ninth consecutive week Cox says that the team just didn't have the concentration and focus it needed to play at the top of its game.
"It has seemed like that, especially on offense," Cox says. "We've been moving the ball great we just can't finish drives. A lot has to do with a couple of plays here and there and not finishing. There will be one person not focusing, a lack of concentration."
The good news for Auburn's offense is that John Vaughn has been deadly this season kicking field goals for the Tigers. Following a three field goal day against Ole Miss on Saturday the senior is now 17-20 on the year and has become one of the most feared weapons in the SEC. Cox says that having what amounts to a sure three points is good but sooner or later those have to turn into touchdowns.
"John has been big this year," Cox says. "He's been kicking great and that's a big thing for us offensively. Even though we're not scoring touchdowns we're getting three points out of it nine out of 10 times. If we can continue moving it we don't have to score touchdowns every time but we want to at least three out of four times we're down there score a touchdown."
This week the Tigers play their final non-conference game of the season against Arkansas State. It should be a chance for the offense to get right and build even more confidence heading into the final two games of the year against Georgia and Alabama. Cox says that having gone through the Arkansas game this season means the team will be ready for the Indians and not looking ahead for a big finish.
"It's just a long season but it has already gone by fast," Cox says. "We learned something big when we played Arkansas. You have to always be focused no matter who you're playing and you can't look forward to the next week. We've practiced great since that loss to Arkansas and we just have to keep doing that and focus on one game at a time."