AU Players Comment on Return to Practice

Comments from a variety of Auburn players are featured from bowl practice in Atlanta.

Atlanta, Ga.--Quarterback Brandon Cox says the Tigers got off to "a little slow start" for the resumption of bowl practice on Wednesday, but the senior notes his team finished up strongly after having eight days away from football practice.

Cox and his teammates are preparing for the Chick-fil-A Bowl that will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at the Georgia Dome vs. Clemson.

One of Cox's backups, freshman Kodi Burns, says a high priority is to win the game while sending fifth-year senior quarterback Cox out a winner because of what he has meant to the AU football team over the years.

"I know that is something the coaches have talked to us about," says Burns, who adds that with a new offensive coordinator, Tony Franklin, he believes there is a chance that multiple QBs could see action in the bowl game.

On the subject of freshman offensive players, Cox notes he has been impressed by what he has seen from starting linemen Chaz Ramsey, Ryan Pugh and Lee Ziemba.

"They came in and gave us a spark offensively," Cox says. "Getting off to the slow start we did offensively, I think they contributed a lot to us getting back on track."

Cox notes that he isn't sure what percentage the Tigers will run of their new spread formation offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin and how much of the West Coast system they used for the 12 regular season games will be run. "Probably like 50-50," he says.

More Bowl Notes: Freshman Tim Hawthorne says the wide receivers are excited about the new offense that head coach Tommy Tuberville has decided to switch to after four seasons in the West Coast offense. "We are thriving on the opportunity to showcase our talent," Hawthorne notes. "We will have plenty of opportunities to show what we can do with the ball in our hands." Hawthorne says the Tigers had a "very productive" practice on Wednesday...

Senior tight end Cole Bennett does a weight training workout on Wednesday at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta while teammate Gabe McKenzie spots.

Pat Sims, who earned All-SEC status as a junior, has been battling injuries all season long. Early in the year he played with a large cast on his hand. Since game two he has played with a toe injury. Despite the layoff after the end of the regular season and on the Christmas break, he says the toe is still bothering him. "I can't push off how I want to," says Sims, who adds, "I just go out there and play every game. If I am hurt I am hurt. I just continue to play. I stay hurt. I am hurting right now. I was hurting over the time I went home. I am not a person that complains. I just continue to go out there and play to the best of my abilities with my injuries."...Sims says it is exciting to hear that he has been projected as one of the top defensive linemen for the 2009 draft after he made the decision to come back for his senior season...Junior cornerback Jerraud Powers says after watching Clemson's offense on video, he is impressed. "They sure have a lot of big-play guys," he says. "We are going to have to find a way to slow those guys down. They are real good."


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