Tigers Show Improved Consistency

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Auburn's upcoming game with a tough LSU team and the improvement of the offensive line.

Auburn, Ala.--The #17 Auburn Tigers (5-2, 4-0) enter game week with LSU on an emotional high after cruising to an easy victory over Mississippi State Saturday to extend their current winning streak to five games this season. Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said the Tigers are in good shape physically with tailback Ronnie Brown (hamstring), offensive tackle Marcus McNeill (back) and defensive end Doug Langenfeld (ankle) all expected to be back practicing this week in preparation for a tough game in Baton Rouge against the #9 LSU Tigers (6-1, 3-1).

"Last week was a coaches game," Tuberville said of the Mississippi State game. "I told everybody we (coaches) had to get more involved. This week it's a players game. I don't think there's any doubt our guys will be ready to play, but I also don't think there's any doubt there guys will be ready to play. That's what makes college fun. You have to go out and play in games like this. You live to coach in games like this and you live to play in games like this. It will be a fun atmosphere and an interesting game."

Looking back at Auburn's thrashing of Mississippi State, Tuberville said that the entire offensive line was named the offensive players of the week this week for the Tigers with seniors Reggie Torbor and Demarco McNeil earning the honors on defense. The special teams honors went to Anthony Mix and Philip Yost for their performances on Saturday. Tuberville said the offensive line had a great game as a unit on the way to a 400+ yard rushing day by the Tigers.

"The thing that was a glaring difference was the consistency of all five guys playing," Tuberville said of the offensive line. "We probably could have given it (MVP) to the tight ends and wide receivers too, but these guys have been punished so much and talked about so much on how poorly they had done over a period of time. I thought it was important to let them know how much improvement they've made."

Senior Monreko Crittenden was one of the catalysts for Auburn's running game on Saturday.

Something that won't change much this week even with Brown's return is the fact that Carnell Williams is going to be the man for the Tigers at running back. In three-straight SEC games Williams has rushed for 165.3 yards per game and scored eight touchdowns. That includes a record-setting six touchdowns against Mississippi State. Tuberville said that although Brandon Jacobs has gotten better each week and is returning home to play for the first time ever, it doesn't change what the Tigers are going to do this week against LSU.

"Now that we have Ronnie coming back we'll have to sit down and figure out a scenario of how we're going to handle it," Tuberville said. "There's one thing about Brandon is that he's from down there. I'm not saying we want to get him in the game because he's from down there. He could be over-focused for this game.

"We'll have to sit down and talk with him about that, and Reggie (Reggie Torbor). You can't get too personal about a game. It's a game just like the rest of them. You have to get focused and look at the situation. The players from that area will have to understand that they have to play within themselves not over themselves, but the way Carnell is playing we hope to get him the ball and the rest of them will just have to wait their turn."

Saturday one of the most noticeable changes was in the kicking game where junior Philip Yost took over the duties from freshman John Vaughn following a missed field goal. Tuberville said both will get a look this week, but he's happy with Yost's improvement this season.

"He's been a little inconsistent, but his technique I think has improved. It's going to help him. It's all about production. We'll look at both of them this week. Obviously going into today he'll be our starter, but we let them both kick every day. If one of them is drastically different than the other then we'll go with who's the most consistent."

In their normal Sunday routine the Auburn Tigers practiced for around an hour with the focus on special teams and getting better both returning and covering punts. That will be important because of LSU's ability to make the big play in the punting game this season. Defensive end Jay Ratliff sat out Sunday's practice to rest his ankle, but looked good in Saturday's game. It was his first action since the Georgia Tech game the second week of the season.

Kickoff for Saturday's game against LSU is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.

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