Tigers Work On Game Plan for Oregon

The Auburn football team hit the practice field again on Monday after taking Sunday off.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football Tigers continued preparations for their first ever appearance in the BCS National Championship Game as they spent much of Monday's practice installing the game plan for their Jan. 10th showdown vs. Oregon.

The offense and defense both worked against their scout teams in the session held at the Hutsell-Rosen Track and Field as well as the Auburn women's soccer field across Samford Avenue from the football practice fields, which are closed due to a construction project with the university building a new indoor football practice facility.

The Tigers are trying to get the kinks out after a two-week layoff from practice following their victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC Championship Game. After taking time off for fall semester final exams and then a break when players were allowed to return home, the Tigers started practice again on Saturday after having three days of conditioning and weight training drills with Coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff.

With the Tigers taking Sunday off, the Monday work was the second of four practices prior to Christmas.

The players will practice through Wednesday and then return to campus for their next practice session on Monday, Dec. 27th. They will practice daily on campus through January 1st, take Jan. 2nd off and then fly to Phoenix the following day where they will continue preparations to play the 12-0 Ducks, champions of the Pac-10 Conference.

Oregon is averaging just under 50 points per game, a challenge for any defense. Auburn senior middle linebacker Josh Bynes said the Tigers are getting ready to play a team that runs plays significantly faster than Auburn's fast-paced offense.

"They do some stuff we have already seen before," said Bynes, who quickly added there is one huge difference.

"Their pace is extremely different than any other team," he said, pointing out that the Ducks snap the football around 10 seconds more quickly between plays than Auburn's offense does. "That is a very fast pace."

Bynes said he is impressed with Oregon All-American running back LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Auburn's Cameron Newton and Stanford's Andrew Luck. James leads the nation in rushing this season with his average of 152.9 yards per contest.

"He finds the hole, he finds ways to make plays happen," Bynes said. "He picks gaps and if he sees a seam he is going to take it. He is going to run it through there as fast as he can and a lot of guys miss him and he is out of there.

"When you have a guy like that who can change direction as quickly as he can, he is difficult to stop," Bynes added.

The Tigers worked on special teams on Monday, which is one of Oregon's strengths, particularly punt returns.

Auburn coach Gene Chizik also put his players through individual drills with their position coaches before doing 11 on 11 work with the first offense and first defense going against each other as well as the second offense vs. the second defense.

This year's BCS Championship Game will be the first ever football game matching Auburn and Oregon. The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. CST on Jan. 10th at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

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