DB Junior Rosegreen

2003 Statistics

Coach: Tommy Tuberville
38-24, 5 years
2003 Record: 8-5
at Georgia Tech LOST 3-17
at Vanderbilt WON 45-7
at Arkansas WON 10-3
at Louisiana State LOST 7-31
at Georgia LOST 7-26
Wisconsin WON 28-14

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

There is no question that diminished expectations will favor Tuberville's Tigers in 2004. So, too, should a shift from the meat-and-potatoes, ball-control offense to a more balanced West Coast attack. Even though, we ask this: if Campbell never had the mastery of a simplified offense, can he learn a complex scheme in one off-season? Considering that Cadillac Williams alone had more rushing TDs than 38 D-I teams, there are enough offensive weapons that the burden will not fall entirely on Campbell's broad shoulders. Offensive coach Al Borges "feed 'em the ball" strategy for Cadillac and Ronnie Brown will force defenses to stack the line - ergo, the chance for big plays downfield will be there. The TE and FB positions will be key to assuring the balance required. Campbell should study former Auburn QB Dameyune Craig to see just how dangerous one's legs can be while still playing within himself as a pass-first QB.

If nothing else, any added versatility will mean that Auburn will have a chance to come from behind in games, as opposed to losing every game (0-5 in 2003) in which they did not score first. They'll need the offense to move the chains and stay on the field, because the inexperience of the front-seven guarantees at least a couple big mistakes in early games. Trading Georgia Tech for Louisiana Tech and national champs USC for The Citadel ensures that Auburn will devour more cupcakes than the 322lb McNeil at a six year-old's birthday party. Unfortunately, the false confidence following an easy non-conference schedule will not prepare the Tigers for hostile road games at Tennessee and rival Alabama. Auburn should fly under the radar after an early loss to LSU, but that will help Campbell quietly lead them into the Top 20. After the rumors of his firing and a rocky recruiting season, coach Tuberville will go for broke, open up the offense when needed, and should win at a more consistent pace than in '03.

After unprecedented hype led to an underachieving eight-win season during which the offense scored 10 or fewer points in five games, a lack of preseason expectations might be just what the doctor ordered. Even a bowl game victory and a win over the Tide couldn't prevent rumors swirling around the Plains of coach Tommy Tuberville's firing. However, considering all five losses were to teams that won bowl games - including both co-national champions - maybe the Tigers weren't as bad as their record indicated. Returning 16 starters brings a cautious optimism for Tiger fans in 2004. Look for more, but with a revamped offensive approach, expect Campbell's adaptability to key the Tiger's personality, and therefore his efforts, more than any others, will parallel and predict the team's overall results.

Projected 2004 record: 8-3
QB - 2.5 DL - 2.5
RB - 5 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 4
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Jason Campbell, 293-181-8, 2267 yds., 10 TD

Rushing: Carnell Williams, 241 att., 1307 yds., 17 TD

Receiving: Courtney Taylor, 34 rec., 379 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Carnell Williams, 17 TD’s, 102 pts.

Punting: Kody Bliss, 64 punts, 42.9 avg.

Kicking: John Vaughn, 6-10 FG, 27-27 PAT, 34 long

Tackles: Travis Williams, 57 tot., 24 solo, 8.5 TFL

Sacks: Bret Eddins, 3.5 sacks

Interceptions: Will Herring, 3 for 0 yds. Kevin Hobbs, 3 for 33 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Devin Aromashodu, 15 ret., 19.3 avg.

Punt Returns: Tre Smith, 36 ret., 9.1 avg.


OT Marcus McNeill
OFFENSE: Brandon Johnson-FB, Mark Pera-OT, Monreko Crittenden-OG, Jeris McIntyre-WR
DEFENSE: DeMarco McNeil-NG, Spencer Johnson-DT, Reggie Torbor-DE, Dontarrious Thomas-MLB, Karlos Dansby-WLB

Senior QB Jason Campbell is the unquestioned team-leader, despite failing to fulfill lofty prep expectations in his first three seasons. Blame, in part, a constantly changing offensive system that will see Campbell work under his fourth offensive coordinator, Al Borges, in as many years. Campbell's best days were at the end of 2002, when his mobility led the Tigers to a 5-1 finish. Since then, his pass efficiency rating dropped almost 20 points, and his rushing yards decreased by over 200, even though he started almost twice as many games. Campbell has labored to become a textbook pocket-passer when that is not his natural style. With his 6'5" frame and speed to elude the rush, his potential is unlimited if he is used correctly. Borges however, has already talked about improving the drop-back game and focusing on play-action, two areas in which Campbell will have to improve to succeed in this new "Southern-fried West Coast" offense. The prototypical style of redshirted sophomore Josh Sullivan could get him on the field if Campbell struggles to adjust or succumbs to injury. Sullivan should get increased face time, for he is the heir-apparent for 2005.

Running Back
A major reason for the hiring of Borges was his philosophy that senior TB's Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Ronnie Brown should be on the field together for 30-40% of the snaps. Tuberville's best "recruiting" of the off-season was convincing both former 1,000-yard rushers to bypass the NFL, providing unprecedented depth at RB. With Williams and Brown fully healthy in the backfield, defenses will find it hard to key on either rusher. The Tigers are so deep that talented junior Tre Smith (nine career TDs, 5.1ypc) will be resigned to mop-up duty barring injuries and senior Brandon Jacobs has debated transferring. Most likely, the physical specimen Jacobs (6'4", 257) will adhere to Tuberville's advice and make a position jump to TE. Junior FB Jake Slaughter will enjoy blocking for whoever is behind him - his nine touches in '03 could increase, especially in the pass-happy scheme Borges will employ.

Wide Receiver
A measly three yards a game separated Auburn from Arkansas as the worst passing offense in the SEC, but who can blame them with the talent in the backfield? At a program where a 500-yard receiving season makes you the go-to guy, junior Ben Obomanu and sophomore Courtney Taylor should both exceed such modest expectations. If Obomanu can build on his 150-yard performance against Ole Miss while forgetting his costly endzone drop, his big-play potential (team-high 17 yards-per-reception) will stretch defenses to assure Borges' attack is balanced. All-SEC freshman Courtney Taylor was a model of consistency, catching a pass in every game. Adding bulk to his already impressive size will make him a force over the middle. With a host of upperclassmen returning, Tuberville will have the option to go with four and five receiver sets. This area is evidently key for the new horizons Auburn will assuredly want to explore - disappointment is guaranteed if the receiving dimension falters.

Offensive Line and Tight End
The line that was expected to be a rock had its underbelly exposed in early losses to USC and Georgia Tech. Yet, the same line that was written off came together in the second half to pave the way for the SEC's second best yards-per-carry average on the ground. They now return four starters, including RT Marcus McNeil and TE Cooper Wallace. Both are two years removed from All-SEC freshman seasons and at 6'9" 322, McNeil is an immovable force to follow on the right side. The line should average a whopping 6'5" 300 and shouldn't skip a beat at RG presuming heralded sophomore Jarrod Britt steps in (and up) quickly.

With the potential to add Jacobs' athleticism to compliment Wallace at TE, upper-class-depth at every spot and five-star recruit Leon Hart vying for playing time, expect this group to be one of the best in the SEC, both blocking and snarling.

An experienced line, a star backfield, a veteran quarterback and qualified playmakers at wideout: there is (no) reason (not) to improve on a 26.3 points-per-game average… unless Al Borges modified West Coast system is simply not the right fit. But he has helped Indiana, UCLA and Oregon lead their respective conferences in passing, and the radical nature of the change alone should make things more entertaining at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Take the reins off Campbell by letting his mobility compliment his accurate passing and the offense should flourish, especially in the red-zone, where Auburn was one of the worst in the SEC at only 75%.


TB Carnell Williams


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Jason Campbell-Sr (6-5, 228 Brandon Cox-Fr (6-2, 196)
FB Jake Slaughter-Jr (6-2, 237) Mike McLaughlin-Fr (6-2, 226)
TB Carnell Williams-Sr (5-11, 204) Ronnie Brown-Sr (6-1, 232)
Tre Smith-Jr (5-10, 200)
WR Ben Obomanu-Jr (6-1, 193) Courtney Taylor-So (6-2, 195)
WR Silas Daniels-Sr (6-0, 193) Anthony Mix-Jr (6-5, 242)
Devin Aromashodu-Jr (6-2, 205)
TE Cooper Wallace-Jr (6-4, 253) Cole Bennett-So (6-5, 244)
OT Marcus McNeill-Jr (6-9, 340) King Dunlap-Fr (6-8, 290)
OG Ben Grubbs-So (6-3, 289) Jonathan Palmer-So (6-5, 317)
C Jeremy Ingle-Sr (6-2, 275) Steven Ross-Jr (6-6, 275)
OG Danny Lindsey-Sr (6-3, 306) Jarrod Britt-So (6-3, 299)
OT Troy Reddick-Jr (6-5, 327) Tim Duckworth-So (6-3, 308)
K Philip Yost-Sr (6-0, 195) John Vaughn-So (6-1, 196)
Ben Obomanu....OH-BUH-MON-U
Devin Aromashodu....A-ROAM- A-SHOE-DU



Defensive Line
One of the nation's most potent sack units loses its unquestioned leader in DE Reggie Torbor but returns enough talent to offset that loss. Three senior ends, headlined by Bret Eddins and Jay Ratliff, provide depth and size (both are 6'5") but lack the speed to create a dominant edge rush. Ratliff will also have to slide over from right to left-end, that is unless hyped sophomore Stanley McClover can beat him out and stay on the field - eligibility questions have haunted him since his signing. They may need him on the line, considering sophomore DT Tim Duckworth and junior NG T.J. Jackson have zero combined starts and limited real-game experience. The middle will be a glaring hole until those two develop, so don't expect the Tigers to hold teams under 100 yards a game on the ground again, at least not until the season's second half.

Considering the strength of the Tigers' schedule, to rank sixth in total defense in the nation was a remarkable testament to the best linebacking corps in the country. Only junior Travis Williams returns, but with his ferocity and the departures of Karlos Dansby and Donatarrius Thomas, he should challenge for the SEC lead in tackles after recording 67 and 10TFLs in his backing role. Another junior named Williams, Antarrious, adds speed in the middle, but at only 5'11", the intimidation factor is no longer there. Senior Mayo Sowell could fill the gap as an outside run-stopper, but his best games have been against weaker competition. Having played in every game should help Derrick Graves adjust to the weakside; nevertheless, the pressure to help the middle of the line will make dropping into coverage that much more difficult for this inexperienced group. This area's adjustments and maturity will go a long way and will surely tell-tale of the team's success and/or failure.

Defensive Back
The Tigers may have surprised some people by finishing in the top five in the SEC for pass defense, but the stat is misleading considering they gave up more yards-per-pass than ninth-ranked Florida. The group won't have the luxury of a front-seven that will constantly pressure opposing QBs into mistakes. What they will have are both returning interception leaders in sophomore safety Will Herring, an All-SEC freshman selection, and junior corner Kevin Hobbs (three INTs apiece). The best of the bunch is senior CB Carlos Rogers who, despite leading the team with eight pass breakups, can point to his lone interception as a sign of how rarely teams throw his way. He could even see time at safety in dime packages to strengthen coverage across the field. Returning every starter, as well as depth for nickel and dime packages, ensures that last year's relative weakness this dimension represented will now be the defense's strength.

It will be tough to lose that much senior talent and still dominate in the SEC, but it is not out of the question. The linebackers must work out the kinks in spring drills, or teams will be running straight up the gut on them all year. The confidence the coaches have in their cover-corners, especially in Rogers (who should be [at least] a conference first-teamer), will allow for more man coverage, freeing up the safeties to crowd the line with creative stunting. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik likes to blitz, but may have to rely on it even more to generate some kind, any kind of pressure. Teams will be able to control the clock against this unit, but a "bend but don't break" philosophy and (preventing) big plays in the secondary should keep scoring down.


LB Travis Williams


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Bret Eddins-Sr (6-5, 267) Doug Langenfeld-Sr (6-3, 254)
NG T.J. Jackson-Jr (6-1, 304) Josh Thompson-Fr (6-0, 295)
DT Jay Ratliff-Sr (6-5, 278) Wayne Dickens-Jr (6-1, 297)
DE Stanley McClover-So (6-2, 252) Marquies Gunn-So (6-4, 234)
SLB Karibi Dede-So (6-1, 206) Kevin Sears-So (6-4, 236)
MLB Travis Williams-Jr (6-1, 209) Mayo Sowell-Sr (6-2, 225)
WLB Antarrious Williams-Jr (5-11, 208) Derrick Graves-Sr (6-1, 222)
CB David Irons-Jr (6-1, 183) Montae Pitts-So (6-3, 203)
CB Carlos Rogers-Sr (6-1, 194) Courtney Denson-Fr (5-11, 198)
SS Junior Rosegreen-Sr (6-0, 196) Donnay Young-Sr (6-0, 204)
FS Will Herring-So (6-4, 212) Tony Bell-Fr (6-2, 210)
P Kody Bliss-So (5-11, 193) John Vaughn-So (6-1, 196)
Karibi Dede....KA-REE-BE
Mayo Sowell.... SOW-ELL




Going 11-for-19 on FGAs will rob any coach of confidence, which forces Tuberville to go for fourth downs much more often than he would have liked (23). Still, senior Phillip Yost, that's Phillip Yost of the school record-tying 57-yard FG, returns a big enough leg to give Tiger fans hope that his 55% accuracy will improve.

Sophomore Kody Bliss improved as 2003 went on, including a 54.7 yards per punt average against ULM, with every one being downed inside the 20. His tremendous upside and Auburn's improved punt coverage will mean the 38.6 net punting average is to be even better.

Return Game
Junior Devin Aromshodu is the speedster on kick returns and will be among the SEC's elite return men. Tre Smith will focus on improving his low punt return average after Auburn was near the bottom of the SEC. Special teams have hurt Auburn at critical times the past couple years. With one of the worst kickoff coverage units as well, the coaches better get to work in spring so it doesn't cost them again.


We're going to jump right out and say that lefty QB Brandon Cox will see time by mid-season, assuming Jason Campbell doesn't produce or the Tigers have at least two losses at the half-way mark. Cox showed great command of his throws and managed the offense really well. With Campbell leaving next year and Cox only a freshman, Tuberville will want to get the future of Tiger football real-game experience. But again, that's only if (one of) the aforementioned conditions are presented... Cadillac Williams didn't do anything to disappoint this spring, and, as predicted, will be one of the nation's premier RBs. Fellow-RB Kenny Irons (transfer from South Carolina) had an impressive showing too... The wide receivers will give the QB a reliable cast, a fact illustrated in the spring. We mean it - this is one of the deepest, most talented groups in the SEC!!

The overall defensive effort has, so far this spring, been pretty weak - in fact utterly disgusting to Auburn coaches. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik admitted "we were terrible". Tuberville has challenged this group to step up this fall and lay/take claim as the strength of this team. We think they will. The bright spots came from LB, where Anatarrious and Travis Williams played well, especially against the run...DE Stanley McClover was the defensive MVP of the spring, giving the Tigers a force on the front line. As of now, though, he is about the only one... SS Junior Rosegreen was a plus in the secondary, but the way things are going defensively, he may be the leading tackler on this team... LB LaMarcus Rowell has left the team, citing a desire to play somewhere else.

RB Kenny Irons (jr)
DE Stanley McClover (so)
QB Brandon Cox (fr)