Auburn, Ala.--After reviewing the video from Saturday's first spring scrimmage, offensive coordinator Al Borges says there was plenty to be excited about as the Tigers opened up the offense a good bit with the passing game. While there were some good points, he admits there were also plenty of mistakes to keep the team occupied for the next week getting ready for scrimmage number two.
"I thought there were some really good things," Borges says. "I thought Tyronne Green played really well. He got a little tired at the end but for the most part he was pretty consistent. Tight end wise we were pretty solid there. I think we had one or two assignment errors but we were pretty good there. With the wide receivers we got some balls down the field. We threw a lot of deep balls and we hit some and we missed some but at least we hit some. We didn't miss them all and that was one of the goals of the scrimmage."
With the need for big plays in the passing game obvious to anyone who saw the Tigers play last season, Borges says the plan for the first scrimmage was to throw the ball down the field more times than usual to work on that part of the game. Starter Brandon Cox had a very good day and Borges says the senior looks strong but behind him backup Blake Field as well as freshmen Neil Caudle and Steven Ensminger have some work to do.
"Brandon Cox is feeling better and moving better than he has in a long time," Borges says. "We're still battling at backup quarterback. It's still Field. No one has really pushed that issue yet so it stays as it is. That's pretty much it. We weren't great but we weren't terrible. We've got a long way to go.
"We haven't practiced them but a week so they haven't had time to develop," he adds on the backup quarterbacks. "If we're still at this point at the end of spring I would say it is (a disappointment) but at this point we're still in the embryonic stages of learning this position. Those kids were scout team players for the most part last year (Caudle and Ensminger). We've got to give them a chance and for the most part we haven't done that yet."
A big question mark for this offense is up front where King Dunlap is the only full-time starter returning with both Leon Hart and Jason Bosley also having some starting experience. Combined with Green, those three give the Tigers a solid base but they are still looking for someone to step up at right tackle. Antwoin Daniels was the starter to open spring practice but his performance on Saturday dropped him on the depth chart as Andrew McCain and Mike Berry are the first two right tackles as of now with Bart Eddins also getting a look at the position. Borges says that is the top priority on offense at the moment.
"It's still up in the air," Borges says. "No one has taken charge of that yet and until someone does we're going to keep trying guys. We're going to find out who wants to play that position…that position is in pencil."
Sophomore Montez Billings had a great day of practice on Monday.
Another position that is getting long look is wide receiver where junior Rodgeriqus Smith has been Auburn's most consistent player this spring. Continued up and down play by Prechae Rodriguez has opened the door for several young players and Borges says Terrell Zachery and Montez Billings both had a good first week as they try to get into the starting rotation.
"I think Terrell is coming around really nicely," Borges says. "He's still learning the technique at the position. That is big because that gets you open. I think Montez has done pretty well so far. Hopefully, we can get him the ball a few more times in the next scrimmage. We'll give him a chance to see if he can go get a few balls next week."
A position that needs perhaps the least tweaking on offense is at tight end where Cole Bennett is back for his fifth-year after getting hurt early in the 2006 season. Joining him at the position are sophomores Tommy Trott and Gabe McKenzie. Borges says that is a formidable duo that they are already looking for more ways to get the ball in the hands of the big playmakers.
"Today we started to implement some things that use that second tight end in some running and passing situations," Borges says. "It's going to be more and more of a factor as we go since we don't have a lot of fullbacks.