Pads Are Popping At AU Practice Field

No game didn't mean no contact for the Auburn football Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--It was definitely not business as usual for the Auburn football team on Friday.

Coach Tommy Tuberville had his team put on the full pads for the first time all week and the Tigers had one of their most physical practices of the season at the football complex, going for nearly two-and-half hours. The pads were popping and the amount of contact was very unusual for an in-season workout.

Normally a travel day this time of year, if Auburn does practice on a Friday it is usually just a very light walk-through of the game plan before having a team dinner to discuss the upcoming contest and the plan for the Tigers. With the Auburn at LSU game postponed, most likely to Dec. 1st due to the terrorism tragedy, Tuberville sent the first team offense against the first team defense and the second offense vs. the second defense. Overall, the coach said he liked what he saw.

"The attitude was really good and we have continue to make progress," said Tuberville, who watched a second straight spirited practice followed by running drills for conditioning purposes. The Thursday session, which came just two hours after learning that all SEC football games had been cancelled, was the most spirited practice of the 2001 season.

Tuberville told the players if he didn't like what he saw in the Friday practice that they would have a replay on Saturday. However, the crisp workout pleased the head coach so his Tigers are off until Sunday when they will have another full pads workouts.

The Auburn head coach says that he plans to relax on Saturday with his two boys and take them on a dove hunt along with several Auburn assistants, something he has never done in the month of September because of his involvement in football. Since this is a non-evaluation period for recruiting, none of the high school coaches can take advantage of the off-week to watch high school games which have not been postponed in Alabama.

Auburn is using the unexpected off week to try to get his less than full speed players as close to 100 percent as possible. All-SEC candidate defensive tackle DeMarco McNeil, center Ben Nowland, defensive tackle Spencer Johnson, tailback Ronnie Brown, guards Mike Pucillo and Hart McGarry were among the players who were held out of parts of practices the past two sessions to make sure they don't re-aggravate old injuries.

"When we get back to practice next week, we should be as healthy as we have been in a long time," Tuberville said.

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said he is very saddened by the tragedies that caused Auburn to not play football this week. He did note that the Tigers would probably be a healthier team next week for their game at Syracuse without having a game vs. LSU this weekend. "Playing nine straight games without a week off is tough, but I certainly didn't want an off-week under these circumstances."

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