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Cox enjoys more balanced attack

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Cox enjoys more balanced attack

Saturday, August 19, 2006


News staff writer

AUBURN - Quarterback Brandon Cox was allowed to balance Auburn's offense in the last full-scale scrimmage of the fall Friday, and that meant he could do what he likes to do best.

A week after handing off the ball for much of the first scrimmage, Cox came back to throw two touchdown passes against a sophisticated defensive package in a secret 100-plus-play scrimmage in Jordan-Hare Stadium staged far away from fans, spies and ne'er-do-wells.

Coach Tommy Tuberville reported Cox's progress and gave the scrimmage a favorable grade.

"We learned a lot of things about some guys," he said. "One thing I wanted to watch was: `Did we compete better than we did last time?' We did."

Tuberville said the offense scored "four or five touchdowns" and the passing game put up better stats than the tailbacks. The big play came on a 50-plus-yard touchdown pass from Cox to Rodgeriqus Smith. Tuberville said he was happy he got in more plays than planned, mainly because the Tigers were effective using the 25-second clock for the first time in game-type situations.

Tuberville, who spent much of the week with only reserved praise for his team, didn't deviate too far off that path Friday.

"Our timing wasn't there offensively," he said. "We did everything in the world on defense. We gave them every look. I'd hate to try to block all that stuff.

"The defense started off fast, but I thought the offense caught up at the end."

Except when the offense ran its goal-line offense. "The defense won that," Tuberville said. And that's when Auburn went back and ran its two-minute offense.

Tuberville said Smith had several nice catches throughout the practice.

"We didn't have many dropped passes at all," Tuberville said. "We did have some sacks. But like I said, they brought it all."

That meant the first-team defense tried everything it could against the first-team offense.

"It wasn't a set-up scrimmage to make anyone look good. It was competing from Play 1 all the way to Play 104," Tuberville said.

Tuberville said the Tigers may try to stage a short situational scrimmage early next week, but practices devoted solely to game-type tackling situations are over.

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