September 7, 2006

Notebook: AU offense is cocked and ready

Quarterback Brandon Cox threw 44 passes in last season's opening game against Georgia Tech, about 20 too many according to offensive coordinator Al Borges.

So last Saturday night when Washington State came to town, the junior southpaw attempted just 18 passes, which according to Borges is much closer to where he would like the total to be.

Of course, the difference between the two games is Auburn couldn't run the ball against the Yellow Jacket defense. Running back Kenny Irons hardly saw the field in 2005's opener. Last weekend against the Cougars, the senior took off for 183 yards and was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week in the process.

Borges wanted to set the tone for the season with a more physical offensive game plan.

"We are trying to create a physical mentality here. It started after the bowl game. We weren't very happy," said Borges. "From spring football until our first game, we said we're going to run the football and we're going to stop the run.

"That's what we are going to do. Get on the line of scrimmage and knock people off the ball, pick our spots for our passing game. We tried to carry that into our first game and we're not going to stop doing it either."

But the Tigers won't be able to rack up 293 yards rushing like they did against the Pac-10 Cougars. Not in the SEC. Not every week. Cox will be called upon to keep defenses honest. Borges expects opponents to stack the box with eight and nine-man fronts.

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