Cox Gets Vote of Confidence From Borges

Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges says that he has confidence in his starting quarterback even after a shaky start to the season and a loss to South Florida.

Auburn, Ala.--Through two games of his junior season at Auburn, Brandon Cox was well on his way to being one of the most successful quarterbacks in school history. The accurate lefty appeared to have all of the physical tools, the coaches to put him in the right positions and the talent surrounding him to continue to flourish.

However, as his career has progressed, his production has regressed. Except for the blowout loss to Georgia in 2006, it was never more evident than in the Tigers' 26-23 overtime loss to South Florida.

"I've had it happen a couple of times with a senior quarterback," offensive coordinator Al Borges explains. "The team isn't playing as good offensively and he starts thinking that he has to do more than actually does have to do."

As a backup in 2004 and then as a starter, Cox had thrown for 3,121 yards, 22 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions through two games of his junior season. He had completed 59.2 percent of his passes and averaged 8.1 yards per throw.

But in game three of the 2006 season when Auburn beat LSU 7-3, Cox was beat up by the Tiger defense and has gone down hill drastically.

For a quarterback who was once 17-4 as a starting quarterback, Cox's numbers have been awful since. Going back to the Georgia game in 2006, he has completed 47.3 percent of his passes at just six yards per attempt. He has thrown eight interceptions, lost two fumbles, been sacked 18 sacks and has thrown just 53 completions.

Including negative rushing yardage, Cox is averaging less than 120 yards per game and committing an average of two turnovers.

He had three turnovers against South Florida, and Borges is still counting on his senior lefty to recover and get the ball rolling offensively. When asked if Blake Field or any of the other backups would get a serious look at the starting role, Borges wasn't hesitant.

"No, not really, no," he says. "I just think that's just such an easy out, to bail on your starting quarterback when things aren't going really well.

"Sure it bothers me," Borges says of the lack of production. "It bothers him and it bothers everybody. There is no question about it. It's irritating. In the past he's pretty much been able to do it. Even when he was banged up they couldn't just load up on him every game. That makes me believe he can do it. If there were never any signs of it then I'd say, ‘Oh my goodness, we're in trouble.' But he's done it and he'll do it again before it's all said and done. I have confidence in him."

Even with his struggles passing the ball and making decisions during the play, Cox has done a solid job of calling the right audibles and managing the clock. That's one area where he has a major advantage over the other quarterbacks.

Through it all, the senior says the Tigers could still have a successful season if the offense can get everything clicking in a hurry.

"Definitely, especially with the way our defense is playing, special teams with the way some young guys have stepped up," Cox explains. "On offense we're just lacking right now. We're slowly getting better, but we have to put it all together to help out our defense and our special teams. They're doing their part, we just have to do our part.

"I've just got to limit the turnovers," he adds. "We're still real close. I think we got better in some areas, but the turnovers cost us."

For the improvement to happen, Borges says, it's not going to be just a difference from his quarterback. The entire offense must start playing better football.

"Sometimes it's pressure, sometimes he gets blocked a bit," he notes. "If you go through grading the tape, it's never one thing. I say that all the time. It's never one thing. If it is one thing then you take the quarterback and take him out. That's when you change your quarterback. If the same thing keeps happening and he's not doing it you get him out of the game."


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