Rested Tigers Ready For Challenge

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the players of the week from the Louisiana-Monroe game and the challenge facing his team this week.

Auburn, Ala.--Saturday was Unsung Hero Day for the Auburn Tigers as three players who don't garner much attention earned player of the week honors from their coaches in a 73-7 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

Fullback Brandon Johnson, cornerback Kevin Hobbs and special teams player Justin Fetsko earned the honors after all played a solid game in the easy victory.

A punishing blocker and all-around team player, Johnson caught just one pass for nine yards in Saturday's win, but threw some early key blocks to spring Carnell Williams for some of his 113 yards on the day. Hobbs, earning the start with Junior Rosegreen going back to safety, picked off this third pass of the season and returned it for a touchdown. It was the first interception return for a touchdown by an Auburn player since Alex Lincoln turned the trick against Central Florida in 1999.

While there were several other special performances, senior Fetsko stole the show. Quarterback Jason Campbell said the offensive plan was to get Fetsko a touchdown in the passing game sometime on the day, but he took care of getting into the end zone all by himself. Blocking two punts, he fell on the first for a touchdown to send all of his teammates off the bench to congratulate him.

Running back Ronnie Brown jumps over a Louisiana-Monroe defender in Saturday's win. Brown had his career-best game against Ole Miss last season in an Auburn win.

Winning a game by a large margin doesn't do much for a team this late in the season other than letting the team rest heading down the stretch. That was the case for the Tigers on Saturday as the starters only played half the game or less than that and the reserves took it home from there. Coach Tommy Tuberville said experience for younger players was the main thing to gain from Saturday's easy win over the Indians as well as resting for the Rebels.

"We didn't get a lot out of it other than looking at some of our younger players and resting some of our starters," Tuberville said. "It's been a long five or six weeks since the open date. We cut back on practice last week. I think after Saturday and not playing very much that our starters should be pretty much rested. We're going to need to be because it's going to be a game where we're going to do a lot of different things on both offense and defense and play a lot better than we did."

Something Auburn will have to decide this week is how to attack an Ole Miss defense that has been solid against the run and terrible against the pass. That should mean good news for the Tigers who have struggled throwing the ball, but Tuberville said they won't change their plan in mid-stride heading into Saturday SEC Western Division showdown.

"You do the same things," Tuberville said. "You don't have time during the week to change the philosophy of what you're doing. We're a running football team and we hope to go in and have a good gameplan and execute. That's what it's all about. It's about execution."


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