Cox and Company Put On Show in Spring Finale

Auburn, Ala.--Brandon Cox has never looked sharper than he did in Auburn's final spring training scrimmage on Wednesday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The senior lefty went to work early slicing and dicing the defense which had dominated most of spring drills and kept the heat on throughout the session.

Cox connected with his favorite receiver, Rodgeriqus Smith, on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the very first play of the scrimmage. That set the tone for a scrimmage that was heavy on offensive highlights and provided precious few for the Auburn defenders.

On 20 offensive series starting anywhere from the offense's own two-yard line to the defensive team's 30-yard line, the offense scored touchdowns 10 times. That was a major change from the earlier spring scrimmages in which the offense struggled to make first downs.

The defense made stops on downs in six of the series. Two ended in field goals, two ended interceptions by safeties Eric Brock and Blake Shrader and one ended on a fumble recovered by freshman defensive end Darrell Roseman.

Tailbacks Mario Fannin and Tristan Davis scored three times each on running plays. Fannin netted 206 yards on 13 carries with most of his damage being done against the second and third stringers on defense. Fannin showed his shake and bake ability to make tacklers mix in the open field as well as break tackles.

The speedy rushed for 100 yards on 15 carries and faced tougher defensive opposition than Fannin as he made most of his yardage against the No. 1 defense.

Cox completed 14-19 passes for 302 yards and three scores without an interception. Robert Dunn caught four balls for 104 yards, Smith had three catches for 118 yards before ending his scrimmage early with what is believed to be an ankle sprain. Freshman Alex Rose made two catches for 54 yards.

"We finished well and the our kids came out ready to play," offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "When push comes to shove, when you look at the whole spring, we finished with a pretty even exchange of blows.. The defense beat us up a couple of scrimmages and we had a couple of decent ones. That is how you want it. You want to win some but, believe it or not, as much as I hate to say this you probably want to lose a couple so it helps both sides of the ball win football games in the fall."

Tristan Davis says he made improvement during spring drills after returning to offense.

Senior offensive guard Leon Hart has seen a lot of scrimmages in his four years at Auburn, but nothing like the one he participated in Wednesday. "To be honest, I have never seen a better scrimmage from the offensive side," he says. "Usually the defense kicks our butts."

Tailback Tristan Davis said the scrimmage was a great way for the offense to finish the spring. "This gets us real excited about the coming season," he noted. "We have a lot of weapons on offense. We just have to come together and use them."

Davis did his part for making it memorable for the offense. He ran the ball 15 times for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Ben Tate (ankle sprain) didn't see action and first-string tailback Brad Lester, who suffered a concussion earlier in the spring, saw only spot duty on Wednesday.

Freshman linebacker Craig Stevens was the leading tackler with three solos and three assists while Chris Evans added four solos and one assist and Patrick Trahan and Aairon Savage each contributed four solo tackles.

Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said the Tigers played well most of the spring on defense, but were outplayed on A-Day and again on Wednesday. "We just have to get physically and mentally tougher," he said. "Give credit to the offense. They played well today."

Senior safety Eric Brock returns an interception in the scrimmage.

Muschamp didn't mention it, but many key defenders were held out of action with injuries including players such as defensive backs Jerraud Powers, Jonathan Wilhite and Lorenzo Ferguson, linebackers Steve Gandy and Merrill Johnson and defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks, Jermarcus Ricks, Octavius Balkcom, Bryant Miller and Antonio Coleman.

Tuberville plans to give the Tigers a week and a half off before resuming offseason conditioning workouts as the Tigers prepare for the 2007 home opener vs. Kansas State.

Touchdown Drives:

First Offense vs. First Defense--One play, 75-yard pass from Brandon Cox

Two Offense vs. Two Defense--Four plays, 70 yards Mario Fannin 58-yard run (Blake Field at QB) Neil Caudle QB)

Two Offense vs. Two Defense--Four plays, 40 yards, Fannin 11-yard run (Caudle QB)

One Offense vs. Two Defense--Three plays, 40 yards, Brad Lester 18-yard screen pass from Cox

Two Offense vs. Two Defense--Two plays, 40 yards, 40-yard run by Davis 40 yard (Steven Ensminger QB)

One Offense vs. One Defense--Two plays, 40 yards, one-yard run by Brad Lester (Cox QB)

Two Offense vs. Two Defense--Five plays, 40 yards, Davis four-yard sweep at left end (Caudle QB)

First Offense vs. First/Second Defense--Three plays, 30 yards, three-yard pass to Gabe McKenzie from Cox

Two/Three Offense vs. Two/Three Defense--Two plays, 30 yards, Davis 15-yard run (Ensminger QB)

Brandon Cox14190302375
Neil Caudle38158039
Steven Ensminger37120015
Blake Field240605
Mario Fannin132062137360
Tristan Davis151001022340
Blake Field29112011
Brandon Cox247307
Carl Stewart133003
Brad Lester303312
Steven Ensminger1-1010-1
Neil Caudle5-1321502
Robert Dunn4103036
Rod Smith3118175
Montez Billings335025
Alex Rose254039
James Swinton226021
Brad Lester118018
John Cubelic113013
Prechae Rodriguez1606
Tommy Trott1404
Gabe McKenzie1313
Cole Bennett1303
Mario Fannin1202
Terrell Zachery1101
Ross Gornall33, (40), (47)
Zach Kutch(33), (40), 47
Tyler DiPace(33), 40, 47
Craig Stevens3361.0-10-00-001.0-1
Chris Evans4150-00-00-000-0
Aairon Savage4040-00-00-000-0
Patrick Trahan4042.0-40-00-002.0-4
Michael Goggans3030-00-00-000-0
Rick Chapman2131.0-20-00-000-0
Zac Etheridge1230-00-00-000-0
Quentin Groves1232.0-30-00-002.0-3
Mike Blanc1230-00-00-000-0
Jonathan Vickers2020-00-00-000-0
Patrick Lee2020-00-00-000-0
Courtney Harden2020-00-00-000-0
Blake Shrader1010-00-01-3000-0
Eric Brock10100-01-3500-0
Josh Hebert1010-00-00-000-0
Darrell Roseman1010-02-00-010-0
Pat Sims1011.0-20-00-000-0
Greg Smith1010-00-00-000-0
Tez Doolittle1010-00-00-000-0
Jerraud Powers0110-00-00-000-0
Zach Gilbert0110-00-00-000-0
Walter McFadden0000-00-00-010-0
Brandon Hunt0000-01-00-000-0

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