Football Tigers Gaining Offensive Confidence

A variety of Tigers give their views on the development of the 2002 football team on the offensive side of the ball.

Auburn, Ala.--After winning the starting quarterback job by a narrow margin over Jason Campbell and having a less than impressive opening night in Los Angeles, senior Daniel Cobb seems to be settling into his role as leader of the offense.

Cobb's development is a key to Auburn's success this season, says head coach Tommy Tuberville, whose Tigers are looking to improve their record to 4-1 on Saturday night in a non-conference test vs. Syracuse.

Daniel Cobb (16) is shown in practice as offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino watches in the background. No. 66 is Monreko Crittenden.

"He has made a lot of strides," says Tuberville, who notes that Cobb has won the respect of his teammates for a tremendous amount of work the QB has put into being a success in his final season, going back to winter workouts in January. "He still has a lot of potential, yet," Tuberville adds. "I think the entire team helps him become a better quarterback. You are only as good as the people around you."

Sophomore starting guard Danny Lindsey, who also plays center, says there is no doubt in his mind that Cobb is developing as a team leader. "I think he is improving game by game and is getting more confidence back there," Lindsey says. "I think he is more calm this year. He is making the right checks and getting us where we need to go."

Star tailback Carnell Williams agrees with Lindsey and adds, "When he steps in the huddle, we look to him."

Cobb says that he believes the Tigers are making strides on offense as they get more familiar with the system installed during spring training by new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino. "I think people are just more comfortable," Cobb says. "The communication is better between the offensive linemen and the quarterback. I think I understand, even better now, the running game and the run checks."

Daniel Cobb

Freshman wide receiver Ben Obomanu notes that he can see the progress the offense and Cobb are making. "We are really coming together now," says Obomanu, who caught a 45-yard TD pass in the Mississippi State game with 14 seconds left in the first half to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead. "Dan Cobb is really doing a good job at the line of scrimmage checking off plays and knowing how to make the correct reads," Obomanu says. "It shows how the offense is maturing."

Junior tight end Robert Johnson says he likes what is happening with the offense. "I think we have made more big plays in the first four games this year than we did the past two seasons. It is exciting knowing that everytime we go out there a big play can happen at any time."

After watching videos of Syracuse, Cobb says that he expects to see an aggressive style of play by the Orangemen with lots of blitzes on Saturday night. After a slow start in the first quarter at Mississippi State last week, Cobb and the offense adjusted well to the blitz and won going away in Starkville with a 42-14 victory to improve their record to 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference.

The senior quarterback threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter to give the Tigers a lead they would never lose. If Cobb plays as well as he did in Starkville, the Tigers have a great chance to avenge last season's 31-14 loss at Syracuse. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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