Voice Of Experience Discusses Auburn's Offense

Fifth-year senior tight end Lorenzo Diamond gives his views on the 2002 football's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Tight end Lorenzo Diamond has seen just about everything you could possibly imagine in his five years as an Auburn Tiger. His experiences both on and off the football field make him one of the foremost authorities on this year's team when assessing how the Tigers have been practicing and where they are headed this season.

As an offensive guy, he says he believes the Tigers are right where they need to be as they begin to tune the practices to prepare for the USC Trojans. While the offense didn't put up particularly impressive stats in Saturday's final scrimmage of two-a-days, he notes the Tigers are becoming more familiar with their offense every day.

"I think we're doing good," says Diamond. "We're picking it up pretty well. Coach (Bobby) Petrino still gets onto us about certain stuff, but that just comes with the territory of a new offense. I think overall we did pretty good (in the scrimmage). We had a lot of effort plays and we just went out there and got after the defense a little bit."

Lorenzo Diamond

In the offensive huddle day in and day out, Diamond has a great deal of insight into the ongoing quarterback competition between senior Daniel Cobb and sophomore Jason Campbell. After going through the same race last fall, Diamond says he has noticed something different in both players this year, something that he predicts will make a difference.

"I've seen more confidence out of both of them," Diamond notes. "Both of them are really taking charge of the offense, stepping up, and making their presence known in the huddle. That's probably the biggest thing, a big step for Jason more than Daniel because he's always done it. For Jason that's a big step and what we need from him, from both of them. They've really stepped up and shown that they want to win. One of them wants to be the starting quarterback and lead us."

No matter who is named the starting quarterback, much of the first few games will be spent handing the ball off to tailback Carnell Williams and throwing to Diamond and the rest of his tight end squadron until the wide receiver passing game can get untracked, says Petrino. Whether it's Cobb or Campbell, Diamond says that he is confident either can get the job done when the lights are on.

"I think Coach Petrino is going to make a decision and go with it," he says. "Whichever one it is, it really doesn't matter to the offense, we're just ready to get one in and start getting ready for USC."

Diamond, Robert Johnson and Cooper Wallace should give the Tigers a strong group of tight ends.

With the opener in Los Angeles now two weeks away, the Tigers will begin to put in the game plan for the Trojans on Tuesday. Once the starting signal-caller is named, the offense will begin to work exclusively on the plays the coaching staff believes will be successful against the opponent. Once that happens, Diamond says things usually begin to get much better for the offensive team because they narrow the focus to plays the team is running well that should be effective against the defense they expect to see from the Trojans.

"It gets a lot better," Diamond says. "You're not trying to learn a lot of stuff, you're just trying to learn the game plan you're putting in for that week. Once you get that down you pretty much have it down. Once we start that I think we'll be set in what we do and we'll be ready to go."


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