Practicing in shorts and helmets, the Tigers spent some of the day on game plan work for the Rebels, something usually not done until Tuesday. Coach Hugh Nall said he thought the hour and a half practice was a success after a productive, but error-filled performance on Saturday.
"I thought it went good," Nall said. "We spent some time on fundamentals, which I was really disappointed with yesterday. Going back and watching the film this morning I thought it was one of our worst games, especially up front in terms of technique and fundamentals. If we had played somebody better it would have been a rough day."
In addition to working on fundamentals, the Tigers worked on the passing game offensively while giving some work to the defense at the same time. Instead of practicing against the scout team, the offense and defense worked against each other in a pass skeleton drill with the offensive and defensive lines working on the pass rush. That will likely be the plan the rest of the week at some point every day because of the talented Ole Miss passing game coming to town along with the league's worst pass defense.
Because of those two factors this week should give the Tigers an opportunity to make some plays in the passing game. That was the plan all along for Saturday's game against Louisiana-Monroe, but the game got out of hand early and Campbell didn't play after halftime. Nall said he was pleased with the little work Jason Campbell got throwing the ball Saturday.
"I thought he did a lot better job in his fundamentals," Nall said. "In practice during the week there had been some things with his footwork that needed to improve. Especially the first long pass for a touchdown, his footwork and timing was real good."
Playing an Ole Miss team that has been an offensive juggernaut this season, averaging 38 points per game, it would be safe to assume that the defense would be an important part of the equation towards a victory. That is true, but Nall said the offense would also have a big say in how Saturday's game goes and not just because of how many points it scores.
"There's two ways to look at that, do you want to score a lot of points or do you want to control the ball?" Nall asked. "I think you have to do some of both. We're going to have to do our part to help win this game. I don't think you'll see a 10-7 game. We're going to have to score some points and we're going to have to make our offense run from the standpoint of the running game and passing game.
"We're going to have to be able to throw the ball to get them out of the box," Nall added. "We know they're going to load the box on us, everybody does. We'll have to throw the football to get the safeties out of the box. Not just down the field, but the intermediate routes, to get them loosened up. We'll have a game plan for that. Believe it or not, we do every week."
On the injury front for the Tigers' big Marcus McNeill was back practicing on Sunday and Nall said it would be a day-to-day situation with him this week to see how he responds and recovers from practice. After being held out of Saturday's game, his status looks pretty good to play against the Rebels. The same is true of Doug Langenfeld, who missed the game Saturday with a sprained ankle. He was riding a bike in Sunday's practice, but should be ready to return this weekend. Other than that the Tigers will be as healthy as possible going into the 10th game of the season.
Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally on CBS television. Auburn enters the game 6-3 overall and 4-1 in SEC play while the #20 Rebels are a perfect 5-0 in league play and 7-2 overall.