Saturday Auburn Shows More Than Passing Fancy

While the running game gets all the attention, the Auburn Tigers are quietly turning into a quality passing team.

Auburn, Ala.--Everybody knew Auburn could run the ball. Saturday morning, the Tigers proved they could throw it, too.

First-team quarterback Jason Campbell completed 19-of-28 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in Auburn's two-and-a-half-hour scrimmage inside Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday. Backup quarterback Josh Sullivan completed 14-of-24 passes for 114 yards.

Josh Sullivan throws a deep ball in the direction of Courtney Taylor.

"We know teams are going to come in and try to put as many people in the box as they can, but the one thing they're going to have to do is respect our passing game," Campbell said. "We can air it out as well as we can run it. That's something we showed today, and the guys are going to just have to keep working and keep improving. Running and passing, everything is coming together. The chemistry is getting better."

Sophomore receivers Courtney Taylor and Devin Aromashodu led the receiving corps for the Tigers. Taylor caught six passes for 52 yards, and Aromashodu pulled down four passes for 55 yards. His longest was a 43-yarder.

Fellow sophomore Ben Obomanu caught two passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. Obomanu scored on a 73-yard reverse play early in the scrimmage.

"We worked on that a lot earlier in the week, putting in the reverse, because (the coaches) said they wanted to get the wide receiver more involved and do a lot of things, starting with some screens," Obomanu said. "At the end of practice, we had a little period where coach said, ‘Now we're going to pass the ball a little more and see what you guys can do.' We were kind of tired by that time, and weren't as productive as we wanted to be. But I know the first thing we've got to do since we are a running team is to establish the run first. I believe once we get that, we'll start working on the pass a little bit more."

Devin Aromashodu has established himself as one of the top receivers on the Auburn roster.

More than four-deep at tailback, including Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and the huge Brandon Jacobs, there is no question Auburn will run the ball often and hard this fall.

But the Tigers are also loaded with talented receivers. Though they ran the ball 100 times and threw only 52 times Saturday, the Tigers proved they are more than ready to mix it up on offense.

"We're going to be fine throwing it," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It all starts with running the ball, and then we'll start mixing the pass up. We did a little bit more in one period where we threw it almost every down. But that will come. If we can just get the running game going first, the rest will happen."

Two interceptions by Campbell marred an otherwise flawless passing attack in the scrimmage. Safety Junior Rosegreen picked off Campbell on the first play of the scrimmage and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. Later, Karlos Dansby intercepted one of his passes and returned it 31 yards for the score.

"Well, on the first one, we aren't allowed to cut in practice, so the offensive line would have cut the D-end when he got open, but you can't cut, so Reggie (Tobor) just got his hands up," Campbell said. "The second one was just a bad mistake. Karlos, I think he knew it was coming. When I heard him say, ‘Watch the screen,' I should have just thrown in to the sidelines. That's one thing where you just look at film and you come back and learn from it."

Despite the two picks, Auburn proved it can balance its ground game with a well-hone passing attack.

"We want to have a balanced attack," Aromashodu said. "We want to run-run and run-pass, too. We're just trying to prove we can carry some of the load, too and help the running backs out - make their job easier and make the offense as balanced as we can."


Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories