Auburn, Ala.--It wasn't pretty but Saturday night's offensive showing proved one thing and that is you can never give up on a team led by senior quarterback Brandon Cox. After a poor start to the game, he finished up strong in the final drive as the Tigers came from behind to defeat Kansas State. In a game that looked a lot like last season, Auburn failed to move the ball effectively on offense but came away with a win. It's a trend Cox said he's ready to see put to an end soon.
"It was similar," Cox said. "Our defense kept us in the game and the special teams did very well for how young they were. The thing is we found a way to win offensively. If we can just play better at the beginning of the game and take a little pressure off our defense and special teams, hopefully we can do that.
"It would be nice," Cox added about scoring more points. "This is a defensive-mentality type team. Defense wins games. Offensively we'll try to go out there and definitely be more productive. I think we will be. We had a lot of young guys and we saw a very tough defense. I think that helped us because seeing that much pressure, the next time out we'll be that much better."
With freshmen Mike Berry and Lee Ziemba on the field for the entire time on the offensive line as well as first-time starter Tyronne Green, Cox said at times the inexperience was tough to overcome but he feels like they improved a great deal by the end of the game and it's something he thinks will continue in week two.
"They'll come," Cox said. "I told them before the game that there were going to be mistakes and we just have to learn from them. They were learning as the game went along. I think it will be a big improvement from the first game to the second game.
"It's just a learning process," he added. "When were in the huddle the first couple of times out and Ziemba was just kind of looking up in the stands kind of amazed how the environment was. I think now that he's played in front of them the next time out he'll be ready to go."
Against Kansas State Cox often found himself in the middle of a swarm of Wildcat defenders as the Tigers gave up four sacks on the first half. They came back to play much better in the second half with just one sack given up. Cox said it was a little bit of everyone that contributed to the offensive problems and he starts with himself.
"A lot of that is on me," Cox said. "I'm sure we're going to see that again. We're going to see that type of defense where they pressure us and force us to pass it so hopefully we'll be a little more prepared next time.
"There were a lot of times I had to get rid of the ball pretty quick and still took some hits," Cox added. "That was just the pressure they were bringing. We couldn't block all the guys. There were a couple of times when they covered it up and I tried to take the ball and make something happen with it. Coach (Al Borges) wants me, instead of pulling it down and running it, to just get rid of it."
Getting banged up in Saturday's game with a bruised right shoulder and admitting he was a little cloudy during the contest after a blow to the head, Cox said that he missed some checks in the Kansas State game he would have normally made but was back to feeling good on Tuesday.
"I felt 100 percent better than I did yesterday," Cox said. "Yesterday I was really sore but today I went out there and loosened up pretty good. I'm good to go."
This week Auburn will face a huge challenge from a South Florida team that many expect to be one of the Top 25 teams in the country by season's end. Because of that it will likely take a much better offensive performance against the Bulls to come out with the victory but Cox said he's prepared to do whatever it takes to secure the win.
"That's how it has been, especially last year," Cox said. "Just finding a way to win. It's not always pretty but like coach tells us, it's Auburn football and finding a way to win."