AU Has Upbeat Practice Preparing for Tide

Auburn returned to practice on Sunday night as the Tigers continue preparations for Friday's regular season finale as they try to stay unbeaten.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football team put on the full pads for the third time in its preparations for Alabama and the Tigers may do it again on Monday.

That was the word from Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik, who gave a thumbs up to his team's practice that lasted more than two hours on Sunday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"I really felt like there was a lot of energy and a kind of a little bounce in their step," Chizik said. "They had a day and a half off. We wanted energy. We wanted practice to be crisp. I thought they were really focused and I thought it was a good night tonight."

Chizik said the Tigers may put on the full pads again for their Monday session in preparation for a Friday road game at Alabama. Normally during the season the Tigers practice in full pads just once prior to the next game.

Senior Mike Berry said he liked what he saw in the practice. "It was great," the offensive guard said. "It was one of those practices where we went out there, got after it and got done what we needed to do."

With no classes this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Berry and his teammates have no limits on the time they can watch video on their own or do other things to prepare for Friday's game.

A defensive senior, middle linebacker Josh Bynes, agreed with Berry about the practice being a productive one. "A lot of guys are taking into consideration this game is meaning more than them," Bynes said of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry. "They are just going out there and handling business. It started last week even though the game was going to be more than a week away."

Chizik said that facing a power running game on Friday the fact that the Tigers start a pair of senior linebackers in Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens, who have extensive experience in Auburn-Alabama games, is a plus for his team heading to Tuscaloosa. "It is very important in my opinion simply because you have experience coming into this game," the coach said.

"You have experience playing in this game on the road," Chizik added. "I think that is really important. Those two guys have played a lot of football, have played a lot of snaps and been in a lot of big games...There is no substitute for experience."

Last year when the Tigers played the Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Alabama was unbeaten. This year the Tide has two losses, but Chizik said the Tide looks like last season's team. "I think they are very physical on both sides of the ball. You can tell that is what they hang their hat on being able to have a very physical run game. They have some great people on the perimeter who can catch the football.

"Defensively, they are very physical on the front seven and they have great people on the perimeter," he said. "I don't see a lot a difference. It is a well coached football team and a very physical football team. There is just not a lot of difference I see."

In other news and notes:

*Alabama will be the fourth Top 25 team the Tigers have faced at the time the Tigers played them. LSU was ranked 6th, Arkansas 12th and South Carolina 12th. The last time the Tigers defeated three ranked teams in the same season was 2004 when they won five times vs. Top 25 foes.

*Auburn's 49-31 victory over Arkansas improved AU's all-time record to 700-400-47. Auburn became the fifth SEC team to get to 700 victories. A total of 13 Division I teams have reached the 700 victories mark.

*The Tigers are ranked third nationally in rushing offense (307.9 yards per game), fifth in scoring offense (42.8 points per game) and sixth in total offense (505.2 yards per game).

*Auburn has a 6-1 all-time record in games at Alabama. The Tide has a 20-game home winning streak coming into Friday's game that will kick off shortly after 1:30 p.m. with TV coverage on CBS.

*The Tigers are converting 53.3 percent of their third downs, which ranks third in the country. In the past three games the Tigers have made 24-35 (68.6 percent).

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories