Smith Looking For Complete Game From Offense

Senior wide receiver Rod Smith talks about the offensive performance against West Virginia and getting ready for Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--The second half of football games have been a black hole for the Auburn Tigers in 2008 and particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Struggling to score points and even get positive yards at times, the Tigers have been one of the worst second half teams in the country to this point.

That continued last Thursday night in a loss at West Virginia as Auburn took a 17-10 lead into halftime only to come away with a 34-17 loss to the Mountaineers. Senior wide receiver Rod Smith says that as well as the first half went the second half was equally as bad.

"I definitely think we took a step forward in the first half," Smith says. "We did a lot of great things in the first half. We moved the ball. We had long drives. The biggest thing is we've got to learn how to finish. We've got to finish when we come out in the second half.

"It's very frustrating when you see things going on the right track," Smith adds. "We're doing things we haven't done all season. We were having long drives and helping the defense out more, helping them stay off the field. It was very frustrating in the second half for everything to just go away."

At halftime of the last game Auburn's offense had run 38 plays for 176 yards and scored 17 points. Things went sour after that though as the Tigers managed just 84 yards in the second half in the loss. Smith says he felt like the offense was ready to go but quickly lost its confidence.

"We thought we were on the right track," Smith says. "We did a lot of good things in the first half. We ran the ball and that's what we wanted to do. We wanted to run the ball and we were very successful at that. If we needed to pass the ball we would pass it. A lot of things were going through our mind when we came out in the second half. We went three and out and that was a confidence breaker. We haven't played well all year in the second half. That's something we have to get better."

One of the reasons why the offense got started so well was the play of quarterback Kodi Burns. In the first half Burns was 8-9 for 76 yards passing and one touchdown and also added 45 rushing yards. Smith says even though the offense came back to earth in the second half he feels like Burns showed some very good signs with his play.

"It helped us a lot just Kodi knowing he was going to be the starter," Smith says. "You could tell throughout the week his confidence running the offense. It carried over Thursday night. He played a lot better. He did well under pressure. He got out of the pocket and made a few plays. He looked great running the ball. It helped his confidence out a lot."

Now the Tigers are getting ready for the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday. Facing a team with a solid run defense, Smith says much like West Virginia he feels like the Tigers need to make some minor changes on offense to help move the football. West Virginia decided to attack Auburn's offense with more people, something Auburn never made them pay for in Morgantown. Smith notes that needs to change beginning this week.

"We knew what we wanted to do," he says. "The players on our team, everybody was confident in knowing what we had to do on the field. I don't think a lot of us were thinking too much like we've been doing in the past. We just wanted to go out there and play football. We didn't have to do too many adjustments. The only thing I would say we would have to adjust to is when they started stacking the box playing the run we would have to pass a little more on the outside and try to beat them one on one."


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