Coming Home: Fuller On the "Enemy" Sideline

Former Auburn All-SEC tight end Andy Fuller will be coaching against the Tigers on Saturday as Alabama A&M visits Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Huntsville, Ala.--Andy Fuller, who enjoyed many productive Saturdays wearing an Auburn football jersey and playing tight end for the Tigers, said it will seem strange to return to Jordan-Hare Stadium trying to help his team win a game vs. the Tigers.

Fuller, a major contributor on Auburn teams from 1992-95 and an All-SEC player, will be coaching running backs for Alabama A&M when the Bulldogs make their first-ever appearance for a football game in Auburn. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CST on Saturday.

"It is going to feel a bit funny to me coming to the stadium on Saturday as part of the enemy," he told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I just hope our guys come out and play well and enjoy the opportunity they have with this being the first time in Alabama A&M history to play an SEC team. It is a big deal for our guys."

Alabama A&M, which plays in the SWAC, is the first team from that conference to play a football game vs. Auburn. Alabama A&M will bring a 7-3 record into the contest vs. a struggling Auburn team that has a record of 2-8.

"The players have been asking me what to expect," Fuller said. "I told them to just get ready to go out there and play their best and have fun.

"I told them when they get to Auburn the field will still be 100 yards long and there will be 11 guys out there at the same time for each team.

"I know our team is looking forward to this game," Fuller added. "They know a lot of the players on the Auburn team. Many of Auburn's players played with our guys on high school teams or in all-star games. They have also watched them play on TV."

Andy Fuller is shown in action as a senior during Auburn's 31-27 victory over Alabama in 1995.

Fuller, who is originally from Huntsville, is wrapping up his seventh season as a coach at Alabama A&M. The first five years he coached tight ends and has worked with the running backs the past two seasons.

"Whatever position it is, I enjoy coaching," he said. "I love being around football. I have a real passion for the game. I really appreciate the opportunity I have here being a part of the staff for Coach (Anthony) Jones."

After graduating from Auburn the former Tiger played professionally in Europe. In 1997 he was on the Barcelona Dragons team that won the World League title.

After that league folded he played seven seasons of indoor football for the Tennessee Valley Vipers, lining up as an offensive and defensive lineman before becoming a coach.

One of the players he will bring to Auburn was recruited by Auburn out of Calera High School although the Tigers did not offer a scholarship. Kaderius Lacey has gone on to an impressive career with the Bulldogs. He goes into his final college game with 2,776 rushing yards, the most of any player in Alabama A&M history.

"We are really going to miss him," Fuller said of the 6-0, 218 running back. "It is difficult to find a guy with his size and ability. He has really come on for us and has been doing the things he needs to do to be successful."

Fuller said he believes that Lacey will have a chance to play football at the professional level. He noted that pro scouts will be checking out how he performs vs. Auburn.

"This game on Saturday will be important for him to show what he can do against the type of athletes Auburn has on the field," Fuller pointed out. "That is something the (pro) scouts will be interested to see."

Fuller, who won the Shug Jordan Award as the team's top senior when playing for Auburn, said he was last back on campus to see the Tigers defeat Florida last season.

He notes that he still keeps up with his alma mater and wishes them well. "It is tough see the team have the kind of year they are having," he said.

"As a coach looking at them on film what I noticed is that they had opportunities to win a lot of those games they lost. The other thing that I noticed is that their kids are still playing hard and that is impressive to me, especially considering how the season has gone.

"Looking at the athletes on the team, and knowing Auburn like I do, I think they will get things turned around soon," he predicted. Although he didn't say it, the Alabama A&M coach probably hopes the turnaround starts after this Saturday's game.

Auburn's defensive line coach, Mike Pelton, played with Fuller in college. "Me and Andy were good friends and still are good friends," Pelton noted. "He has come around a couple of times since I've been here. He's a good football coach and a good football player here.

"Everybody remembers Andy from the Florida game (1994) and catching all those passes, but Andy was very important to that running game we had with Stephen Davis and (James) Bostic," Pelton pointed out. "He's just a great guy. He's a good family man. I remember his dad and mom and they were just good people. I know he's got a special feeling to come back and play in that stadium. He's probably pumped. We haven't talked, but I know he's excited to come back."


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