Tigers "Bust Heads" In Physical Practice

The Tigers returned to the football practice field for a long and physical workout. Comments from players and coaches are featured about the practice and this week's game vs. South Carolina.

Auburn, Ala.--Continuing the theme for the week, the Auburn football team put on the pads for a long and physical practice on Tuesday evening.

The Tigers worked for nearly three hours with a good bit of first team offense vs. the first team defense action along with the offensive linemen squaring off with the defensive linemen. The first team offense and defense also worked against their scout teams that were told to get more physical, too.

After practice on Tuesday night offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the offense needs to get more physical as a "whole group" and noted that he saw progress in that area.

"We got after it and we got back to basics and it was good to see," Malzahn said of the practice.

Junior Brandon Mosley, who is competing to fill the vacant offensive right tackle spot with A.J. Green out for the season with a broken bone in his ankle, split the first team reps on Tuesday night with sophomore John Sullen, who finished the Clemson game after Green was injured. Mosley also worked at left tackle where he backs up Lee Ziemba.

Mosley said it is too early to know if he or Sullen will start on Saturday night vs. South Carolina. "We are still battling it out."

Mosley was sure that the Tigers went through a physical practice on Tuesday in preparation for playing the Gamecocks. "It was pretty physical today, one of the most physical we have had. Everybody was out there busting heads trying to get better.

"We are all upset," the offensive lineman added. "Any win is good to have, but we are upset about the way we played and it was mainly us--the offensive line that really kind of choked, I guess. But we got back out there today and tried to get better."

From a defensive perspective cornerback Neiko Thorpe agreed with Mosley that Tuesday's practice was one of the most physical of the season and it was needed. "Physical is another word for defense so there is nothing wrong with that," Thorpe said

Head coach Gene Chizik showed the players a video before practice of plays from this season where his team could have played with more toughness. He also discussed the theme of playing physical football at his weekly press conference noting that South Carolina will bring a physical team and the Tigers will have to play better than they did in a 27-24 victory over Clemson on Saturday night.

"He is not happy about the win either," Mosley said of Chizik. "We are a much more physical offense than we have been showing and he knows it and that is what it is. He is wanting to see it out there and show what we can do."

Senior end Antoine Carter said a key to success for the defense this week will be to play physical football against South Carolina's running attack led by freshman tailback Marcus Lattimore. "We are going to have to play on their side of the ball to make it more difficult for their offense," Carter said. "When your opponent's defensive line is in your backfield, it makes it kind of hard to operate your offense."

Antoine Carter

Carter, who heads into Saturday's game with three quarterback sacks, has five tackles for 31 yards in losses so far this season. At this time last year he was having to watch the action from the sideline as he was injured and not cleared to play until midseason.

In other news and notes:

*Through three games the Tigers are averaging just 17 passes per game this season compared to 28 per game in 2009. Surprisingly, the yardage gained per game isn't much different than last year. The Tigers are averaging 200.7 yards per game through the air compared to 219.8 last season because when this year's team completes a pass it is often for big yardage. The Tigers are leading the nation in yards per pass thrown at 11.8 and the average yardage per pass reception is an impressive 20.1 yards.

*Four of the SEC's Top 10 rushers will be on display Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina is averaging 111 yards per game, which is second in the SEC. Auburn's Cameron Newton is fifth in the SEC and 25th nationally in rushing with 103 yards per game. His teammates, Onterio McCalebb (75 yards per game) and Michael Dyer (70.7 yards per game), are ranked eighth and 10th among SEC rushers.

*The South Carolina at Auburn game will be televised by ESPN and ESPN 3D. Brad Nessler will do the play by play for the ESPN telecast with Todd Blackledge as the analyst and Holly Rowe the sideline reporter. For the 3D telecast the same crew who did the Auburn-Clemson game returns with Joe Tessitore doing the play by play, Tim Brown the analyst and Tom Luginbill the sidelines reporter.

*South Carolina comes into the game 12th nationally in the AP Top 25 poll, its highest ranked since Oct. 20, 2007 when the Gamecocks were sixth.

*South Carolina, which has a 1-6-1 all-time record vs. the Tigers, has lost its last four games vs. Auburn. The Gamecocks are 0-2 in previous appearances at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

*Saturday's Tigers vs. Gamecocks contest will be the first-ever coaching matchup between Auburn's Gene Chizik and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier. With a win vs. the Gamecocks, Chizik's Auburn record would improve to 5-5 vs. SEC teams, 12-5 as head coach of the Tigers and 17-24 overall counting his two seasons at Iowa State.

Quoting Gene Chizik

Steve Spurrier's Press Conference

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