Borges: Offense Getting Into Sync

Auburn offensive coordinator discusses the Auburn football team as the Tigers prepare for Saturday's game vs. Arkansas State.

Auburn, Ala.--Last week against Ole Miss, Auburn had nine offensive possessions. Five of those were long ones as the Tigers kept the football on drives of 15, 11, 11, 10 and 11 plays.

Offensive coordinator Al Borges says that is an encouraging sign although the coach was not happy with the 23 total points the Tigers scored.

"The thing that will tell you if you are in rhythm is when you have extended drives because offense is about getting in sync," he says. "It is synergy. Offense is all about that with one good play behind another good play, behind another good play or even if it is not a great play at least it is not a catastrophic play so you can run another one.

"When you have drives that are in excess of eight plays, nine plays or 10 plays you are getting in sync and doing some good stuff," Borges says. "The thing we need to do a better job of is finding a way to get it all in one play once in a while. We haven't done much of that this year. It is reflected in our scoring and in our total yardage. We have proven we can control the ball on good teams."

On Saturday the 8-1 Tigers will take on 5-3 Arkansas State at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff time is 1:30 p.m.

"From an execution perspective, we have improved steadily the last few weeks," Borges says. "From a productivity standpoint we still have to improve because we are not scoring enough touchdowns. If we can come out of the game feeling like we took another step, then I am excited."

The Tigers scored two touchdowns and three field goals last week on their six trips into the red zone. "All I can say is we have coached our butts off to try to make it better," Auburn's offensive coordinator says.

Borges notes that the Arkansas State defense, a base 4-3 that mostly uses zone coverage in the secondary, is similar in style to what the Tigers saw last Saturday vs. Ole Miss. However, the offensive coordinator notes that the Indians "are not as pressure-oriented as Ole Miss." Borges adds, "They are a good, sound football team, a good, solid football team. I can see why they have a pretty good record."

Auburn tailback Kenny Irons has missed the last two non-conference games while recovering from injuries. Borges says he expects Irons will play this week. "With Kenny it is the same thing every week," he says. "It is so day-to-day with that injury. Until Saturday (at Ole Miss) we didn't know we were starting Kenny and that is the God's honest truth. It will probably be the same thing this week and the same thing next week, but he practiced every day.

"It is good to know we have some other backs, if he can't go, who can do the job--Carl Stewart, in particular."

Stewart can handle all of the running back assignments, but has spent most of his time at fullback this season. Borges says, "I thought he would be good in that role, but he has been much better than I expected. He, too, can play tailback and play it well."

Freshman Ben Tate has rushed for 100-plus yards in non-conference games vs. Buffalo and Tulane. Borges notes that the true freshman, who didn't play last week vs. Ole Miss, could see action vs. the Indians.

"We will see how it goes," Borges says. "He is like Brad (Brad Lester) in that when he gets the ball something good happens."

Borges says that Tate is developing into a good all-around tailback. "He really has good hands. He is a little faster than you think, a little quicker than you think and he is just as strong as you think."

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