Refreshed Tigers Turn Attention to UGA Dawgs

A report on Auburn's Sunday football practice features news, notes and quotes.

Auburn, Ala.--After a long weekend away from football Auburn's players returned to the practice field Sunday night and the team's defensive coordinator said he liked what he saw.

"There was a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm," Coach Ted Roof said. "It was another good step in the preparation for the University of Georgia."

Saturday's game, which will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CST from Sanford Stadium in Athens, will be the 115th game matching the Tigers and Bulldogs. Auburn leads the series 54-52-8 and has a 14-10-2 advantage in games played in Athens.

Georgia comes into the game with a 7-2 record, including a seven-game winning streak. The contest is an important one for the Bulldogs, who can clinch the SEC East's spot in the league championship game if they can defeat Auburn and Kentucky.

The players had just two practices the previous week and were encouraged to go home on Friday to rest and recharge for the final three games of the regular season.

Roof said Auburn's only off week of the season was much needed for the Tigers. "It came at a great time because we were really beat up," Roof said. "The grind of this league takes its toll."

Roof said the Tigers scouted themselves early in the off week. "Sometimes you get so engulfed in the game-planning and the day-to-day, the next thing, you want to make sure you go back and take a look at things to make sure you see what the people you are getting ready to play see.

Ted Roof

"From there it was full speed ahead on the University of Georgia and I thought we got a good jump on that and our players got some time off," Roof added. "The schedule was set up very well. They used it wisely. I?think we are going to be a fresh football team going to Athens on Saturday."

When the Tigers arrive at Sanford Stadium on Saturday they will face a Georgia team that crushed New Mexico State 63-16 on Saturday.

Auburn freshman defensive tackle Gabe Wright, a native Georgian from Columbus, said it was good to have time off from football. "I think as a team we all needed it, the extra days, as Coach (Gene) Chizik said it, to get away from football and put our minds on our family. It was really good to see my mom, to see how my nephew was progressing in school and things of that sort."

Wright, who got his first college start in Auburn's last game, said the rested Tigers had a "very good practice" on Sunday night. "We knew this bye week was going to help us get an extra step on UGA," he said.

Tight end/H-back Philip Lutzenkirchen agreed with Wright about the benefit of time away from football, pointing out the Tigers have been practicing and playing football for 14 to 15 straight weeks.

"It is good just to get away from this complex for a little bit for a few days and just not even think about football," he said, adding, "I think we are all a lot fresher than we were a week ago."

In other news and notes:

*Saturday's game will be televised nationally on CBS.

*Auburn normally closes the season with back-to-back games vs. Georgia and Alabama, but this season the Homecoming game with Samford is sandwiched between the contests vs. the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide.

The only other time in the past 47 seasons the Tigers didn't close the regular season with back-to-back matchups vs. Georgia and Alabama was 2001 when the LSU game was moved to the end of the season after it was postponed in the aftermath of the 9-11 terror attacks.

*Redshirt freshman wide receiver Trovon Reed, who returned to action in the LSU?game after being sidelined by a shoulder injury, said on Sunday night that he feels 100 percent physically.

*Tre Mason is 79 yards short of Auburn's record for kickoff return yardage by a freshmen. James set the record with 654 yards in 1977.

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