Some Good Some Bad For AU Rush Offense

Offensive coordinator Al Borges and center Jason Bosley talk about the Auburn running game.

Auburn, Ala.--Against a team that allowed 293 yards rushing last week to Arkansas, Auburn figured it could also have reasonable success on the ground against the Ole Miss Rebels.

The Tigers started out running the ball nine consecutive times and finished the game with 231 yards on the ground.

"We threw 26 passes, so it wasn't real conservative," offensive coordinator Al Borges notes. "We were going to run the football, because looking at their numbers that they were vulnerable to that. We didn't want to be so conservative that we didn't throw it. We like to be about 25-28 passes a game."

Brandon Cox wasn't as crisp as he could have been, but he was 16-26 for 189 yards without an interception. Combine that with a tailback trio that carried 42 times for 216 yards and the Auburn offense should have put a ton of points on the board if was able to finish blocks and finish drives.

Auburn led just 10-3 before Brandon Cox and Rod Smith took advantage of a coverage mismatch late in the game, to finally put it away 17-3.

"I felt like we've really improved on (the run), but I don't know if we're there yet," says center Jason Bosley. "Whenever you rush for 200 yards, you're obviously doing something right. We've got to keep working on finish blocks. We're getting off the ball good, we just have to finish, finish, finish. That's got to be our theme for the last three games.

Despite a sensational effort from Ole Miss linebacker Tony Fein, who disrupted the Auburn run an finished with 16 tackles, Brad Lester rushed for a career high 96 yards. Ben Tate added 72 and Mario Fannin had 48.

"Their D-line was coming off the ball pretty good and #47 (Fein) was making tackles," Bosley notes. "I remember I pulled around one time and he ran all the way around the backside and made a tackle. He played a heck of a game. I think we did pretty well, but as Coach (Hugh) Nall says we've got to keep finishing on blocks. Assignment-wise we were pretty good, but when it comes to finishing we've got to keep picking it up."

Playing without star end Greg Hardy because of suspension, the Rebels were still tough up front led by Peria Jerry and Marcus Tillman. Borges says that his young guys in the trenches played well against the Ole Miss front four.

"The offensive line did a heck of a job," he says. "They were giving us a ton of movement up front, and they do every year we play them. They're a big-time slanting, blitzing, perimeter-pressure team. You've got to be disciplined. You've got to really run your feet and pick some of that stuff up."

"There are parts of the game I really like and there are parts that I don't," Borges adds. "Seventeen points isn't enough based on how well we moved the ball. We should have had 30-points-plus with those kinds of numbers. That part of it, in terms of overall productivity, I'm not happy."

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