AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn fans booed when senior quarterback Brandon Cox took the field for the Tigers’ final drive in Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State.
Coach Tommy Tuberville tried to redirect the intent of it, saying he felt the fans were booing him and the decisions of the coaching staff, but Cox said he knew different.
"They were booing me," he said. "They weren’t booing the coaches."
Cox has won 20 games as a starter for Auburn, making it hard for him to understand, he said. He talked about the mercurial responses by the fans.
"It doesn’t take much," Cox said. "It doesn’t matter who you are. If you don’t get the job done, they’re not going to like you. If we would have gone in, and I had thrown a touchdown pass on the last drive, they would have been cheering again."
Tuberville said the booing bothered him.
"If you’re going to boo, boo the coaches because we get paid to do this. The players don’t, "Tuberville said. "They work awfully hard to do what they do."
Cox appeared somber and uncertain when addressing the media on Sunday. He said he didn’t know how the quarterback situation would play out this week, but said he felt like he had the support of his teammates.
"Everybody came up to me and said they still believed in me and still loved me," Cox said. "There are true fans at Auburn who love you no matter what. The fans that do that (boo), I don’t care."
Good kind of sore
Freshman Kodi Burns sported a huge ice pack on the elbow of his throwing arm on Sunday afternoon, the result of a huge hit during the game.
Although he said he was sore, he said he was glad it came from getting in his first game.
"I was just waiting on my opportunity," Burns said. "A lot of my teammates said ‘You’re just out there smiling the whole time.’ It’s a fun game. I enjoyed playing."
Burns said he felt like he read the defenses well and made the right checks most of the time. He lamented over missed opportunities, however. "A few plays I slipped up that maybe I easily could have broke a run or scored a touchdown on," Burns said.
Like Cox, Burns said he was unsure what to expect this week. Offensive coordinator Al Borges estimated he knows only 30 to 40 percent of the offense, although Borges termed it, "body learning," meaning game repetitions.
"It’s not what you know, it’s what you can execute," Borges said.
Ready to play
Former LaGrange High standout Tray Blackmon expressed disappointment at being held out of Saturday’s game against MSU.
Blackmon sprained his left ankle in the first half of the Kansas State game and hasn’t played since then. Coaches made game-time decisions to keep him out each of the last two weeks.
"It’s real tough. I wish I could be out there to help contribute to the team," Blackmon said.
He said the ankle is about 90 percent healthy and although he had trouble pushing off on it, he’s ready to play.
"It hasn’t been too much of an issue lately," Blackmon said. "I feel like I’m to the point now where I can play, shuffle, run, make tackles, make plays. I can run on it and cut on it and all that."
Playing against a wide-open offense like New Mexico State might not be conducive to Blackmon’s return this week, Tuberville said.
"This is going to be a lot of running this week and covering people," Tuberville said. "I don’t know whether he’s going to be 100 percent healthy enough to run with backs and cover backs and tackle in the open field."
Chris Evans filled in for Blackmon the last two weeks and has led the team in tackles each time, recording 14 against South Florida and eight against MSU.
The Tigers lost a trio of offensive linemen on Saturday, although the status of starting left tackle King Dunlap is still uncertain.
Dunlap sprained his wrist and elbow and was replaced by sophomore Andrew McCain. Line coach Hugh Nall said he wasn’t sure when Dunlap would return. The Tigers lost senior backup guard Leon Hart for six to eight weeks with a separated left shoulder. He had already lost his starting job following an ankle injury.
The status of redshirt freshman guard Mike Berry is uncertain as well. He has an unspecified injury. That left Antwoin Daniels working with the first team at right guard.
Tuberville downgraded Merrill Johnson saying he could be out for another two weeks with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite is still day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Auburn got one player, Aairon Savage, back on Saturday in a limited capacity.
Tuberville said he still hopes to get running back Tristan Davis (broken toe) back in another couple of weeks. Brad Lester remains suspended pending the resolution of an academic issue.