Tiger Quarterback Wants To Build On Success

Jason Campbell says the Tigers need to push hard to build the type of offense they want to have this season.

Auburn, Ala.--With a very solid first start of the 2002 football season under his belt, Jason Campbell says he is happy with what he did vs. LSU, but notes that he isn't satisfied. He is ready to pack up his lunch box and head back to the construction site this week and continue the building job on the Auburn offense.

"We did a lot of positive things," he notes of his Tigers, who pounded LSU 31-7. "We got a lot of things out of it. We see some things that we're getting better at. And, you know, we just try to continue to strive to get better. We just have got to continue to keep working at practice."

Campbell and the Tigers have three practice days remaining before they will travel to the quarterback's home state on Saturday for an 11:30 a.m. kickoff vs. the Ole Miss Rebels. The home team features one of the nation's top quarterbacks in junior Eli Manning. Campbell was clearly the better quarterback last Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium vs. LSU. The redshirt sophomore will likely have to play his best game of his college career to match Manning.

"I'm not going to go out there and look at it as Eli against me," Campbell says. "I'm just going to go out there and lead my team the best way I know how and play the best way I can play. I want to go out there and try to strive to do the things I can do--just work hard and try to lift my team up."

Campbell says that his improved confidence gained from solid play off the bench and in his first start of the year puts him in a better position to lift his team. "I'm a redshirt sophomore," he says. "I've grown. I've been around the game for a pretty good minute now and got a chance to play against a couple of SEC teams. And one thing that's positive came out of this, is me playing my redshirt freshman year--you know, going through the tough time, and playing against the top teams last year. You get a chance to learn a lot from that. And, you get a chance to build off of it."

Jason Campbell takes a snap from Ben Nowland in last year's game against Ole Miss.

The former two-time Mississippi All-State quarterback and the Magnolia state's high school player of the year as a senior at Taylorsville High is looking forward to his first college start in his home state. "I will have a lot of people at the game," he says with a big smile. However, he notes that once the contest starts his focus will be totally on football and says that it would be unwise to underestimate the Rebels even though they have lost two straight. "Ole Miss is a good team," he says. "Anybody in the SEC this year is a good team. We have to be ready to play every game. We have got to go in there and listen to our assignments, listen to what our coaches tell us and play hard."

Campbell says he is enjoying the new offense and playing under former NFL offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino. "I just want the team to get better and better. I have got to continue to do the things for the team and work with Coach Petrino. Coach is doing a great job right now. And, I just need to continue to be around him and listen to what he tells me about the things I need to work on to get better."

Campbell drops back to throw during summer practice.

Petrino and Campbell were both expecting to throw the ball a lot more than the 11 times the Tigers put it in the air last week. Campbell says there is a good explanation for what happened. "We probably would have threw it more if we had to," he says, noting that the Tigers were moving the ball on the ground. "Plus, it was raining so that is one of the reasons why we just grinded it out mostly in the second half."

Campbell himself was one of the most effective running options, which he notes was part of the game plan for LSU. The big sophomore also notes that the offensive line opened some nice holes for him and others to make key runs when the outcome was in doubt.

"The offensive line did a great job," Campbell says. "I would take my hat off to them. If they continue to play like that for the rest of the year, we would have a great opportunity. You know, like that old saying, ‘It all starts up front.' Our guys did a good job, on the offensive and defensive lines."

Jason Campbell

Campbell says he is excited about seeing how much improvement the Auburn offense can make down the stretch. He says it is fun playing for a coordinator and quarterback coach like Petrino. "You know he does a real good job with the play calling. Right now we are still improving. Everything right now is coming together. We've just got to continue to work."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories