AU Offense Showing Signs of Improvement

Auburn wide receiver Rod Smith talks about the play of the offense and what it does for the team.

Auburn, Ala.--In the last two games Auburn's offense has accumulated 846 total yards and shown signs of life under coordinator Steve Ensminger.

While it didn't equate to a victory over Ole Miss, just being able to move the football and get into a position to score was something missing from the Tiger arsenal heading into that game.

Consider these numbers. In the previous four games Auburn totaled just 787 yards of offense in losing three of four games. Even though the offense is still a long way from where it needs to be, senior wide receiver Rod Smith says he feels like the Tigers are much closer to getting the job done than they've been all season under the direction of sophomore quarterback Kodi Burns.

"I definitely think we've been taking steps forward," Smith says. "You can see how Kodi has progressed and a lot of that comes from Kodi, just him being able to lead the offense and do great things. He's a great runner. He's improved a lot with his passing. It starts with Kodi. If he's doing good it just carries over to everybody else. We'll continue to produce like that."

Burns has without question been the catalyst for the offensive turnaround. In the last two games he has completed 39-63 passes for 449 yards while adding 179 rushing yards on 22 attempts. Smith says that the QB's ability to make things happen has added a big spark to the offense and something that could help everyone pick up their game.

"Kodi's just a playmaker," Smith says. "When he's got the ball in his hands you can expect big things. He rushed for 158 yards and you expect big things from him. He can take it to the house at any time."

What Burns brings to the table offensively not only possibly helps Auburn's passing game because of teams having to pay attention to him, but senior running back Tristan Davis says watching Burns' recent play brings something to the entire team.

"Having Kodi as an option to run has definitely opened up things for us," Davis says. "He brings another part of the game that we haven't had the last couple of years and at the beginning of the season. I think it's a great changeup. We don't mind blocking for him because we know he's going to run the ball and the offensive line doesn't either. I just like Kodi running the ball."

The recent production on offense has not only given that side of the ball a boost, it also has breathed life into a recently stagnant defensive unit. Even though they didn't play great in the victory over UT-Martin there were signs of improvement as they held the Skyhawks to just 38 yards rushing.

With playmakers Antonio Coleman, Sen'Derrick Marks and Tez Doolittle expected to be back this week against Georgia after being held out to nurse injuries things should only get better on that side of the ball. That is good news. If Auburn's defense can come close to the form it showed early on then the Tigers will have a chance to win one or both of the remaining games.

That's provided the offense continued to progress. Facing a Georgia team that has struggled to get pressure with its front four (only nine sacks from the defensive line), expect the Bulldogs to send linebackers and defensive backs in an effort to rattle Burns. That could open up big play opportunities for Auburn's offense. The big question that still remains, can they make the Georgia defense pay?

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