When the Tigers do begin tweaking the offense at Tuesday's practice, Petrino says he isn't sure if starting quarterback Daniel Cobb will be well enough to take part in the workouts. The senior is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered on Saturday night in the 37-34 triple overtime victory over Syracuse. A decision on who will be the starting quarterback for the next game is less urgent than normal because the Tigers have an off week after going 4-1 in the month of September.
"I am not sure exactly what Daniel's status will be health-wise," Petrino tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. The offensive coordinator is sure that he wants the offense to play better when the Tigers face the Arkansas Razorbacks a week from Saturday.
"We left way too many points out there in the first half," Petrino says of his team's performance vs. the visiting Orangemen. "We moved the ball, made mistakes and turned it over, which is something we had not been doing. We need to get that corrected. I thought we were able to move the football. We needed more consistency in the first half at the quarterback position. We had guys open at times, but didn't make the throws. Then, we had some dropped balls so it was kind of everybody making mistakes together.
"The second half I thought we started to execute better," Petrino adds. "I thought Jason (Campbell) did a good job. He seemed real comfortable and competed real hard. He ran when the opportunity presented itself. He competed and put the ball where it is supposed to be. We fought our butts off to get a victory. I think the way they came out of the locker room in the second half ready to compete shows some good character, but we need to execute a lot better."
After playing a late night game vs. Syracuse, the Tigers will return to action against Arkansas with an 11:30 a.m. game that will be televised regionally by Jefferson-Pilot. Arkansas plays this Saturday night in an SEC road test at Tennessee.
Carnell Williams, who set his personal college rushing record with 202 yards in the victory over Syracuse, was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Petrino says that the Cadillac was impressive from start to finish. Williams is leading the SEC in rushing at 127.8 yards per game which is ninth nationally. He is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and has scored nine touchdowns.
Williams was a workhorse for the Tigers vs. Syracuse, carrying the ball 32 times in regulation play and eight more in overtime. Petrino says he didn't realize that the sophomore tailback had carried the ball on that many plays. "It is not something we want to do week in and week out, but when you get behind 17-0 then you have a hard time trying to say, ‘OK, we better put him on the bench.' So I think that is what happened. When we got behind we were saying that we have to have every opportunity we can. I didn't pay any attention to how many times he was carrying the ball. He is sure a tough, great competitor."
Williams was the catalyst for a rally from a 17-3 deficit at intermission. "At halftime we told them the first thing they needed to do was believe that they could do it," Petrino says of the comeback. "Everyone had to do their job. The defense did a tremendous job in the second half. We had great field position. We actually had a couple more opportunities to score and the game should never have gone to overtime. If we had just taken care off our business, the game would have been over a lot earlier."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Petrino says that he liked the overall performance of freshman tight end Cooper Wallace, who caught a touchdown pass and had a strong night as a blocker, particularly during Auburn's comeback. Wide receiver Marcel Willis also won praise.