UT Defense Impresses AU's Franklin

Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin comments on his team's 14-12 win over Tennessee.

Auburn, Ala.--Tony Franklin said he is sure he will find plenty of areas for improvement in the Auburn offense after he grades video of a 14-12 victory over Tennessee, but the first-year AU coordinator said he is going to enjoy every SEC victory the Tigers get.

"I am tickled to death we won the football game because any win you get in this league is good," he said. "I would love to score 45 points a week, but if I wanted to do that I probably should have stayed in another league. There are not very many people in this league that are going to go out and light it up now."

Auburn managed just 226 total yards on offense vs. the Volunteers, who managed just 191 vs. the Auburn defense.

"We knew coming in when we watched the film it was scary because we felt like their D-line was maybe better than the one we just faced vs. LSU," Franklin said of UT. "We knew it was going to be a tough deal.

"We started off and moved it decently and got a score and just kind of got stagnant," Franklin said.

Franklin claimed that UT has a great defense. "Last week, I think Florida had 230 or 240 yards against them. We knew going in this was going to be a battle. I wish we could have scored more. Thank God we put the defense in good position with a punt down at the one-yard line (actually five) and they made a play (fumble recovery by Jake Ricks for a touchdown).

"Our defense has played lights out," Franklin said. "The goal at the end of the game is not to lose it."

Despite the disappointing game for the offense, backup QB Kodi Burns came through with a clutch pass play to preserve the win. With third down and five at AU's own 10-yard line with just over two minutes left, Burns rolled right and threw a 10-yard pass to wideout Montez Billings.

"It was a rollout," Franklin said. "He had three options on it. That (passing to Billings) was his first option. We told him if he didn't have anything, just turn up and try to make a play with his feet. Montez did a nice job of getting separation and Kodi laid it in there, and then Montez did a good job of getting the first down after the catch. It was a fairly low risk play and one Coach Tuberville had given me permission to throw the ball."

The Auburn offense wasn't good enough to overcome poor field position throughout the second half as UT punter Chad Cunningham consistently did a good job of pinning the Tigers deep.

"I think every punter in the country needs to play us because when they do every punt seems to die down inside the five-yard line," Franklin said. "If you are having a bad year punting, just schedule us and come punt. That is just part of it. I have always told our guys that is the best place to be because you have more grass than at any other time.

"We dropped enough balls in the first half to slow our momentum down and not make plays and we just weren't good enough to line up and kick them in the mouth," Franklin added. "They are a good football team, a good defense. We are fortunate to get a win. Hats off again, our defense played lights out."

Auburn's coaches haven't named the starting QB for next week's game vs. Vanderbilt, but Tommy Tuberville said to expect the Tigers to play both Burns and Chris Todd again.


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