With the scout teams running through Georgia's offensive and defensive sets, defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said the day was a good one and he was happy with the energy on the practice field.
"I thought it was really a productive day," Chizik said. "It was really the same old thing. Obviously it was a disappointing loss, but I think we've put that behind us. They understand how big the Georgia game is and they are excited to play in it. I thought it was a very, very good day. I was happy with it."
Instead of practicing the offense in blue and the defense in white like normal, on Tuesday the Tigers changed the colors to give quarterback Jason Campbell the feeling of throwing to white jerseys to get ready for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. contest. That change is just one of many on the field this week as the practices have also been flipped to put the special teams portion at the end of the day. Chizik said you can also feel a change in the atmosphere at practice this week as one of the two biggest games of the season is quickly approaching.
"Every game is important and every game is obviously big, but there is a little something more when you come down to this point in the year. That's kind of what I've noticed in their attitudes and their alertness and awareness of everything. Obviously that showed in the way we practiced tonight. We could have gone out there and had a very sluggish day. That could easily happen when you come off a very disheartening loss like that, but they didn't do that and were well focused and ready to go. They'll do the same thing tomorrow."
Defensively, one of the challenges facing the Tigers this weekend will be in the form of quarterback David Greene. One of the toughest players in the league regardless of position, he has found ways to win games since earning the starting job as a freshman three years ago and never seems to get rattled no matter the situation. Chizik said the Tigers will have their hands full keeping him under control on Saturday.
"The guy has a phenomenal touch on the ball and has tremendous poise," Chizik said. "He reminds you a lot of the one we just played. He puts the ball just where it needs to be. He never seems to get rattled. He's got a good running game to compliment their offensive package and certainly that takes the pressure off of him. They don't really put him in a lot of difficult situations. They do a great job of mixing up their offense and play-action passes and keeping you off balance with blitzes. If you blitz wrong and they hit you on the run it can go for a touchdown. You have to be careful what you do."
Another aspect of Georgia's offense that has come on strong lately is the running game. Losing Musa Smith and all five offensive line starters coming into the season, the Bulldogs spent much of the early season searching for a running game. That search appears to be over as the Bulldogs are averaging 150 yards per game on the ground, something that has Chizik concerned heading into Saturday.
"The Florida game they really ran the ball well," Chizik said. "They've got an offensive line that is young. They're new. After 10 games they're not new, but they are compared to last year. I think they've gelled being able to run the football. They've had to go through some many different backs. I think they've done a good job with that. I think the offensive line has done a real good job of being so young and really producing like they have."
One of the highlights from Tuesday's practice was watching true freshman defensive end Stanley McClover imitate Georgia star David Pollack in practice. A beast on the scout teams all season, McClover has been "unblockable" said Coach Tommy Tuberville and has been a key to the scout team defense all season. Others on the defensive scout team unit that had an impressive day Tuesday were Quentin Groves, who was playing Odell Thurman, and Eric Brock as Thomas Davis. Offensively Brandon Cox was working as Greene with Carl Stewart acting as Georgia's leading rusher Michael Cooper.
Auburn continues to work on special teams this week with the field goal kicking a major point of emphasis. Both Philip Yost and John Vaughn will get up close and personal looks from Tuberville this week in the kicking game and either could get the nod for Saturday's game.
On the injury front tailback Brandon Jacobs missed Tuesday's practice and his status is unknown for the rest of the week. Fullback Brandon Johnson sat out of the practice as well, but is expected to be back later in the week. Defensive end Doug Langenfeld is moving around better than he has in over a month and should see some playing time against the Bulldogs. Center Danny Lindsey has a sprained ankle, but is expected to play Saturday as well.
Kickoff for the Georgia game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally on CBS television. The game time for Alabama the following Saturday is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and is an ESPN broadcast.