Tigers Ready For Rivalry Games

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the Georgia rivalry and gives his thoughts on the season.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn-Georgia series is one of the top rivalries in all of college football and this weekend's match-up should be another classic with Auburn playing for pride and a better postseason position while the Bulldogs remain in the hunt for the SEC Championship. Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said this game evokes fond memories and is one that is always a battle to the end.

"It's always a good game," Tuberville said. "It's a game that is one we have a lot of fond memories from. We have won several since we've been here. It's one of those that you never know what to expect because both teams just let it out and play their hearts out from beginning to end. There's usually a lot of memorable plays."

The Georgia game is the first of two backyard battles for the Tigers to close the season with Alabama coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium the following Saturday for the Iron Bowl. On the heels of a tough loss to Ole Miss Tuberville said it's good for this team to have two very important games to help them re-focus for the remainder of the season.

"We don't highlight many, but these are the two that we know are so important to this program and their programs," Tuberville said. "You put special emphasis on it. Because of that and because of the talk of the players throughout the year you're going to get a lot better focus on the game. It's a fun game. They know a lot of they're players and they know us. It's good old-fashioned football. You just go out and play hard. There won't be any lack of effort whatsoever."

Linebacker Karlos Dansby puts pressure on quarterback Eli Manning in Saturday's loss. Auburn will have to do the same thing to David Greene this weekend if they hope to come away with a victory. Struggling at 6-4 and out of the Western Division race with two games remaining, this season has been one of major disappointment for the Tigers. The opposite is true for the Bulldogs, who despite major injury problems have kept themselves in the race by winning some close games and playing solid football. Tuberville said that what you're playing for doesn't really matter in rivalry games of this magnitude.

"No matter what you're playing for in this game or next week's game it's a pride game," Tuberville said. "You go play, you go play hard and you try to execute and try to prove who's got the best team. That's basically what it all comes down to where you have the right to brag about it for a few months and go on with it."

Last season Auburn had to deal with a defeat just as disappointing as Saturday's loss to Ole Miss. Leading Georgia the entire game, the Tigers let a victory slip through their fingers as the Bulldogs threw a desperation fourth down touchdown pass to get the late win. Tuberville said learning how the come back from a defeat like last year's is something that will help this team go through it again.

"Once we lost that one last year we immediately had to re-focus and play our next big game," Tuberville said. "Obviously seven days later everything about the Georgia game was forgotten about because of how we played in that game. We'll re-hash some of the good and bad this week in which we'll bring back old memories for everybody.

"That was a tough one to swallow, but we'll learn from how they played us. I'm sure they'll learn some things from how we played them. That's how you make adjustments year-in and year-out. That's the reason it's a good ballgame. You understand each other a little better because you play each other every year."

No matter what happens the final two games this season will be viewed as a disappointment by coaches, players and fans of Auburn football. Predicted by many to be one of the top teams in the land, the Tigers have stumbled through the season without playing one complete football game. Tuberville said that's something that you can't do when you play in a league like the SEC if you want to be ultra-successful.

"We have no excuses," Tuberville said. "When you play a tough scheduled like we've played you've got to play good every week. You can't have an off-week and we've obviously had a few weeks where we didn't play as good as we could have played. I'm proud of how we've fought. Nobody has lined up and just hammered us. There has been no quit in this team."

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