Auburn, Ala.--It wasn't a pretty day for the Auburn offense on Saturday in the second scrimmage of spring practice but for coordinator Al Borges it was a day when he saw some things to build on. Much of that was in the running game as four backs combined for 231 yards on 60 carries with Tristan Davis leading the way with 79 yards on 20 attempts. Borges says while there were some bright spots on the day, the offense still has a long way to go.
"We're still not where we need to be," Borges says. "It's spring football and I don't know if you ever really are where you need to be in spring football. We've got a few things we've got to shore up. At this point we're not inserting too much offense. Most of it is fundamentals and finishing blocks and making throws and catching the ball in traffic, those types of things. As we do it more and more I've got to believe we'll get better at it."
Early on it looked like the offense would have a good day as quarterback Brandon Cox connected with Rodgeriqus Smith on a 22-yard completion to move the offense deep into scoring position. Unfortunately, that would be pretty much the highlight of things for the number one offense through the air as Cox finished 10-22 for 110 yards and no touchdowns.
"I think he was probably better in the first scrimmage to be honest with you," Borges says about Cox. "I don't think he was awful, I just don't think he was as good as he was the first scrimmage. There may be a lot of reasons for that but until I watch the tape I can't make a hard and fast decision on how well I think he played."
Behind Cox, if you just look at the numbers, it would appear Neil Caudle had the better day and made a run at the backup quarterback spot but Borges says that's not necessarily the case. With Blake Field in street clothes nursing tendonitis in his shoulder, Caudle and Ensminger got the majority of the snaps in the scrimmage and both did some good things. Was it enough to move either ahead of the other? Borges says not yet.
"I think it was pretty much a push," Borges says. "Without Blake out there it would be unfair to move anyone in front of him."
Sophomore Montez Billings looks for yardage after the catch on Saturday.
Still searching for playmakers at the wide receiver position, the Tigers got what they have come to expect from Smith. With four catches for 57 yards on the day, Smith led all receivers and is clearly the top Auburn target at the moment. Behind him Montez Billings caught a 41-yard strike for his only reception of the day while James Swinton added a 37-yard gain. The two touchdowns came from walk-ons Luster Lewis (64 yards) and John Cubelic (22 yards).
Tight end Tommy Trott caught three passes for 55 yards as well while fellow tight end Gabe McKenzie added a 28-yard catch. Borges says it was good to get a lot of players involved but they're still not where he wants to be in the passing game.
"Rod Smith again made a couple of really nice plays," Borges says. "He has become a very reliable receiver. We got the ball to our tight ends a little bit, which I was excited about, but we're still a ways off. We should be, I guess, at this point.
"When we started off we did a nice job and then we had a penalty and didn't recover very well," Borges adds. "The defense took the initiative for a while and we weren't very good. We did a couple of good things but we're still too rough around the edges. We've still got so many places to improve but that's spring football and that's kind of how it is right now."