Borges has Tigers growling

Just when Auburn's offense was becoming a little stale, along came Al Borges.

The Tigers‚ new offensive coordinator, who coached Cade McNown at UCLA and Kyle Boller at California, brought a little more diversity to the attack and earned a vote of confidence from quarterback Jason Campbell. The result has been a high-powered offense that no longer only features a fantastic rushing game.

Campbell and receivers Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu have given the Tigers a legitimate passing attack to complement the productive running back tandem of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown.

Tennessee, a 34-10 loser to Auburn (11-0 overall, 8-0 in SEC) in the regular season, will confront Campbell and Co. once again Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference Championship game.

Campbell wasn't sure what to expect when he heard that Borges would be his new offensive coordinator. He quickly learned that he would have no complaints.

"I had heard about him and that he had coached Kyle Boller," Campbell said. "Coming into the spring things were positive. Then when things we were doing started to work against our defense, that was a positive. In the past, we were a bit more predictable. It's important that you spread the ball around and keep everybody in the game.

"I think it (success) is because of the variety of plays and formations that we run. Everybody is comfortable going into the games. I feel this is a better system. It gives you the opportunity to just play and not worry about making mistakes."

Campbell has blossomed into one of the SEC's best quarterbacks. He has passed for 2,137 yards and 16 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions. Taylor has 32 catches for 539 yards and five touchdowns. Obomanu has six touchdown receptions. Williams and Brown have been double trouble for foes, combining for 1,861 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.

"I was optimistic (about the offense)," Brown said. "I was excited about getting a chance to do some different things. It certainly has paid off for us. He (Borges) explained to me that he would put me in position to make plays."

The Auburn offensive line also deserves credit.

"Any time you run a new offense, you have to learn the small things about what you are doing," Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We did change the techniques and fundamentals, and we have played more offensive linemen. It's helped with our depth going through the season. You have to have talent, and these guys have stepped it up."

Obviously, having two big-time running backs has been a huge benefit.

"The great thing about Ronnie and Carnell is both of them are very similar," Tuberville said. "Both are very fast and both can run inside or outside. That way you don't have to change your offense when one is in the game. That's a big advantage for us this year.‰

Tennessee safety Jason Allen knows the Vols will have their hands full dealing with the Auburn offense. He hopes the Tennessee defense performs better than it did in the first outing against the Tigers.

"We are looking forward to playing against Jason Campbell," he said. "He is a great quarterback. He has a lot of weapons around him. We are capable of playing well. We just have to go out and execute and play fundamentally sound."

For Auburn, a year of maturity has also played a key role in the team's success. Big things were expected of the Tigers last season, but an 0-2 start changed things quickly. Auburn finished 8-5 and learned a valuable lesson.

"I think the situation we went through last year made us stronger," Tuberville said. "Our team grew up a lot from that. It was a difficult situation at Auburn, but it helped us and we are better for it."

Tuberville is proud of the Tigers for bringing an undefeated record into Saturday's game.

"No matter what sport you are in, going undefeated is tough to do," he said. "It makes you feel good that you are doing things right and you are making progress. That's what it's all about, seeing results from your work."

Inside Tennessee Top Stories