Bigger Brandon Better?

Brandon Cox talks to the media at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.

Hoover, Ala.--A struggling offensive line, oft-injured tailbacks and a beat-up quarterback translated to an offense without personality in 2006. Still, with a masterful coaching job and exceptional special teams the Tigers pulled off an 11-2 record.

The Tigers may feature one of the better defenses in the league and in the country, but likely won't have the special teams luxury in 2007. With a loaded schedule full of national contenders and other capable teams it'll be up to Brandon Cox and the Auburn offense to lead the way to victory.

"In the LSU game I sprained my left knee and my left ankle," Cox explains. "In the Ole Miss game I busted my bursa sack in my right knee. You wouldn't think it, but throwing the ball has a lot to do with your lower body. Moving around avoiding sacks and running the offense was difficult just because I wasn't able to use my lower body. It really hurt us offensively because we ran maybe 70 percent of our offense. It was hard to win games doing that."

Tough guy Brandon Cox battled through Myasthenia Gravis early in his career and multiple injuries as a junior, but has managed to play through it all and looks to be headed for a strong senior season.

A healthy Cox had his best spring as a fifth-year senior and has looked ultra-sharp in summer voluntary workouts. Though not fat by any means, his weight is at an all-time high and his balls have more zip than ever.

"I started last year at about 205 and ended the season about 190 with all of the injuries," Cox says. "I'm about 210-215 right now. I have the strength back in my legs and that's helped with the arm strength."

Auburn, a traditional running football team, has a stable of running backs starting with Brad Lester and extending to Mario Fannin, Ben Tate and Tristan Davis. However, when the Tigers boasted the most successful offense in the league in 2004 and 2005 it was because of a combination of pounding the ball on the ground and spreading it out to the wideouts.

"We have a great group of backs that can run the ball and our passing game is basically to open up that running game," Cox explains. "With the talent we have at receiver--and we did it during the second half of spring--we started throwing the ball deep and loosening up the defense which opened up the field for our running backs. I think if I can stay healthy our receivers can make some plays we can throw the ball down field more than we have in the past, which will get our running game going."

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