QB Brandon Cox

2006 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Tuberville
71-29, 8 years
2006 Record: 11-2
at Mississippi State WON 34-0
at South Carolina WON 24-17
at Mississippi WON 23-17
at Alabama WON 22-15
Nebraska WON 17-14

2006 Final Rankings
AP-9, Coaches-8, BCS-9

2007 Outlook

Head coach Tommy Tuberville seems to produce a winner every time the critics say his Tigers have too much turnover to be serious contenders. Losing both your top rusher and pass catcher along with most of your offensive line could easily dictate struggles, but look for Tuberville and OC Al Borges to easily procure another offense that excites with results more than with glamour and glitz. The one all-important constant is Brandon Cox, now a three-year starter who manages big games well. Accordingly with Tiger recent tradition, the new tailbacks have success written all over them, and the experience at both receiver and especially at TE mean Cox & Co. just have to wait for the line to catch up before they can truly do some damage. On defense, only the new, lighter LBs and depth at corner can keep AU from again fielding one of the best defenses in all of I-A. Needless to say, Auburn recruits at the highest level, exemplified by the fact that last year saw only 10 returning starters on both sides and – voila – an 11-win campaign. Like usual, the Tigers have a daunting slate of games. Opening act non-cons Kansas State and South Florida at home are not “gimme’s”, and going to Gainesville, Fayetteville and Baton Rouge in a four week span will most assuredly define Auburn’s 2007 efforts. Any team not from Mississippi has a shot at the West division’s crown, so AU can again have double-digit wins and still not play for the SEC title. As long as they keep their five-year winning streak going against the Crimson Tide, such transgressions can be forgiven. They don’t win pretty, but you can bet Auburn is back in the top 10 by October…but can they stay there is the big question.

Projected 2007 record: 9-3
QB - 3.5 DL - 4
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 4
OL - 3 ..

Passing: Brandon Cox, 163-271-9, 2198 yds., 14 TD

Rushing: Brad Lester, 104 att., 510 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Rodgeriqus Smith, 26 rec., 452 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Brad Lester, 10 TD, 60 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: None

Tackles: Eric Brock, 50 tot., 32 solo

Sacks: Quentin Groves, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: Eric Brock, 2 for 26 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Tristan Davis, 28 ret., 27.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Robert Dunn, 22 ret., 5.5 avg., 0 TD


DB Eric Brock
OFFENSE: Tre Smith-FB, Kenny Irons-TB, Courtney Taylor-WR, Lee Guess-WR, Ben Grubbs-OG, Joe Cope-C, Tim Duckworth-OG, Jonathan Palmer-OT, John Vaughn-K
DEFENSE: Marquies Gunn-DE, Chris Browder-DE, Karibi Dede-LB, Will Herring-LB, David Irons-CB, Kody Bliss-P

In a year when we will see new starters amongst most of the team’s units, solid senior QB Brandon Cox will provide needed grounding for the Tigers no-frills offense. The Trussville native, though a dropback passer, will have more mobility after struggling toward the end of ’06 with a leg injury. Cox looked great in spring ball, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a legitimate backup in case of injury. Couple that with an almost totally new line and you get a nervous coaching staff. There are no problems where many will assume there are – the backfield has two candidates to replace Kenny Irons, both of whom have seen the field on game day and performed admirably. Junior Brad Lester and soph Ben Tate will likely share the rock (ala Williams/Brown) for optimal effect. Foes need to be aware that fullback Carl Stewart doesn’t just block – his 13 catches (T-4th on team) at a team leading 18.4 ypc clip (for players with more than 10 catches) mean he will go downfield when least expected. The trio of tight ends available for Cox has both size and speed, so two-TE sets will continue to confound defenses when employed. Prechae Rodriguez and senior Rodgeriqus Smith lead their deep group of receivers, all of whom are at least six feet tall. Montez Billings has a huge upside that has yet to be realized, and the entire corps looked tight in the spring scrimmage (A-Day). Senior starter King Dunlap returning at left tackle alleviates much anxiety concerning the new linemen, as does classmate Leon Hart at right guard. Converted-DT Tyronne Green at left guard saw action in all of last year’s games there, while two-year backup Antwoin Daniels knows the right tackle spot well enough to assure quality results. Seven four-star recruits along this line in the past two classes give Tuberville quality depth. This offense has sleeper potential, for consistency and gritty determination combined with this much talent should quietly succeed and should even keep Auburn viable for the win in higher scoring contests.


WR Rodgeriqus Smith


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Brandon Cox-Sr (6-2, 209) Blake Field-Jr (6-2, 203)
FB Carl Stewart-Sr (6-2, 232) Danny Perry-Sr (6-2, 244)
TB Brad Lester-Jr (5-11, 191) Ben Tate-So (5-11, 215)
WR Rodgeriqus Smith-Jr (6-0, 184) Tim Hawthorne-Fr (6-3, 207)
WR Montez Billings-So (6-2, 184) Prechae Rodriguez-Sr (6-4, 204)
TE Cole Bennett-Sr (6-5, 261) Tommy Trott-So (6-5, 254)
Gabe McKenzie-So (6-4, 253)
OT King Dunlap-Sr (6-8, 321) Oscar Gonzalez-So (6-7, 294)
OG Tyronne Green-Jr (6-2, 307) Byron Isom-Fr (6-3, 282)
C Jason Bosley-Jr (6-4, 280) Mike Berry-Fr (6-4, 296)
OG Leon Hart-Sr (6-4, 297) Nathan Farrow-Jr (6-3, 296)
OT Andrew McCain-So (6-6, 301) Antwoin Daniels-Jr (6-5, 286)
K Ross Gornall-Fr (5-10, 191) Zach Kutch-So (5-9, 175)



The only two teams to beat Auburn last season scored more than 20 points, making the Tiger’s defensive legacy the single most important element that needs to carry over if this team is to repeat its recent success(es). It patently applies when they say it all starts up front – all-conference monster end Quentin Graves cannot be contained when guys like fellow senior Josh Thompson and super sophomore Sen’Derrick Marks have so much speed inside. All three were amongst the team’s top eight tacklers, and developed depth means we will likely see improvements to the Tiger’s No.45 run stopping efforts (only five teams allowed less rushing TDs than AU’s eight). Critical to stopping foes on the ground will also be the new-look linebacking corps, which loses the team’s top two tacklers. Junior Merrill Johnson, the unit’s lone returning starter, leads a talented, svelte group that relies on gang tackling and will again be excellent in underneath coverage. Size issues here didn’t detract from results the past few years, but since ’07 began with the Tiger offense running roughshod over the first-team D on A-Day, the LBs have to play to their maximum potential for this side of the ball to have the teeth needed for Auburn to stay near the top of this physical conference. Starting corners Jonathan Wilhite and Patrick Lee are complimented by fellow senior Zach Gilbert for a strong nickel presence, but thin pickings after these three outside reveal a marginal area if injuries occur. Safety Aairon Savage, like Marks, was a freshman All-American, and, with the rest of their two-deep back at both deep slots, Auburn’s No.14 pass defense looks like it can return to that same form. Only 10 INTs means there is room for improvement. Though struggles in early practices have some worried, we feel the Tiger D will be close to what it was in ’06 by October (look out for USF and Florida early).


DE Quentin Groves


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Antonio Coleman-So (6-2, 258) Zach Clayton-Fr (6-3, 272)
NG Josh Thompson-Sr (6-0, 295) Pat Sims-Jr (6-4, 304)
DT Sen'Derrick Marks-So (6-1, 287) Mike Blanc-Fr (6-4, 274)
DE Quentin Groves-Sr (6-3, 254) Michael Goggans-Fr (6-3, 258)
LB Steve Gandy-Jr (6-1, 201) Craig Stevens-Fr (6-2, 210)
LB Patrick Trahan-So (6-2, 220) Courtney Harden-Jr (6-0, 230)
LB Merrill Johnson-Jr (6-0, 208) Tray Blackmon-So (6-0, 205)
CB Patrick Lee-Sr (6-0, 195) Zach Gilbert-Sr (5-10, 183)
CB Jonathan Wilhite-Sr (5-11, 182) Walter McFadden-So (6-0, 179)
SS Eric Brock-Sr (6-1, 204) Zac Etheridge-Fr (5-11, 191)
FS Aairon Savage-So (5-11, 191) Lorenzo Ferguson-Jr (6-2, 204)
P Ryan Shoemaker-Fr (6-0, 187) ..




Zach Kutch is the new kicker, and his big leg will be needed in those close SEC contests. He and Ryan Shoemaker will be looked at for punts, but Shoemaker has the inside track. A new face at punt returner (backup RB Mario Fannin) will help, while Tristan Davis as KR meant AU finished ranked 4th as a team in that area.