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Tuberville: I'm Sticking With Brandon

By Jay Coulter

Tommy Tuberville finally weighed in on the Auburn quarterback controversy yesterday. As expected, he’s sticking with Brandon Cox. "He's made some obvious mistakes but you don't just ditch a guy that's won 20 games the last two years," said Tuberville. "You would hope things start clicking. Obviously anybody is subject to having somebody else go in for him but we've still got confidence in Brandon."

It’s really the only choice. Many of you have posted messages and diary entries here demanding a change at quarterback. You certainly have a valid argument, but we really don’t have a viable second option.

Kodi Burns is almost certainly going to redshirt this season. Tuberville said so yesterday.

"The way people are playing us we've got to throw the ball," said Tuberville. "Kodi doesn't know the passing game as well as Brandon. His elusiveness will probably help a little bit. But you're still going to have to throw it most of the time. They are not going to sit back and give you an opportunity to run it, either. Let a couple of more games go by and Kodi will be looking at redshirting for sure."

That leaves only Blake Field in the mix. He came on strong at the end of fall practice and has played well in spot duty over the past few years. Outside of a total meltdown against Miss State this weekend, I think it’s a safe bet that Cox will be under center when the Tigers head to Gainesville in a few weeks.

We are learning a little more about the injury situation for Saturday’s game with the Bulldogs. Linebacker Tray Blackmon practiced on Sunday and is expected to play this weekend. It looks like Aairon Savage is a scratch at safety. Tuberville says its unlikely he’ll see action.

Linebacker Merrill Johnson left the South Florida game early with a bruised shoulder, but is expected to play. Punter Ryan Shoemaker is suffering from a dislocated elbow – damn you know that hurts, but is expected to punt against State.

Have you seen a harder hit than the one Walter McFadden laid on the USF blocker during that punt return in the second half? It brings back memories of Junior Rosegreen in 2004. That’s got to be on YouTube somewhere.

They say perception is everything. It’s amazing to me how an Auburn loss combined with an Alabama win over Vanderbilt suddenly changes the feel of college football in Alabama. I’m surprised at some of the comments on Auburn message boards by fans who suddenly believe Alabama has caught up to the Tigers.

Let’s not forget that Bama’s season doesn’t really start until Saturday against Arkansas. Give Nick Saban credit. This team looks more disciplined than any we’ve seen in recent years. I believe it’s even safe to say they are better than a year ago.

However, that doesn’t always translate to more wins. We’ll know more about them in three weeks after games with Arkansas, Georgia and Florida State.

Until further notice, Auburn still controls college football in the state of Alabama. An Alabama win over Vanderbilt and an Auburn loss doesn’t change that. The season is long and the Tide must come to Jordan-Hare.

Did you notice the play of linebacker Chris Evans? How could you not, right? Filling in for Tray Blackmon, he led the team in tackles with 14. Position coach James Willis is living up to his billing as a guy who can develop talent.

Name the last freshman kicker to hit three field goals each in his first two games. That’s exactly what Wes Byrum has done to start the season. He’s hit 5 of 6 including a 49 yard FG against USF. If he continues at this pace, and let’s face it, with the way the offense is playing he should have ample opportunity, Byrum is on track to surpass the record for most field goals in a season set by Scott Etheridge with 22 in 1992.

It’s not too early to begin looking at the television schedule for this weekend. We have some great games on the tube. The one advantage to playing on Lincoln Financial is that you get to watch most of the day’s other games after yours finishes.

Here’s the SEC weekend television schedule (plus Troy). All times are CT...

Oklahoma State at Troy - 7 p.m. - ESPN (Friday)
Miss State at Auburn – 11:30 a.m. – LFS
West Carolina at Georgia – Noon - PPV
Tennessee at Florida – 2:30 p.m. – CBS
Arkansas at Alabama – 5:45 p.m. – ESPN
South Carolina State at South Carolina – 6:00 - PPV
Louisville at Kentucky – 6:30 p.m. ESPN Classic