Weather Disrupts Auburn's Tuesday Practice

Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik talks about Tuesday's practice and Alabama's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--A stormy Tuesday disrupted the Auburn Tigers' practice schedule as the offense and defense split into separate groups and continued to work on the game plan for Saturday's Iron Bowl clash with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said that while the weather forced them to do some things differently it hindered their learning very little.

"I thought it was a really, really good day," Chizik said. "I'm just proud of the way they came out. They are very focused. It was a nasty day weather-wise, but they were really focused and into it. They had a really good day considering the circumstances with the weather.

"We (defense) were outside the whole day and the offense was inside," he added. "It cleared up some, but when it started to rain we had all the film set up so we just stayed outside. Usually we're just going against the scout team anyway. We missed out on a little bit of stuff with each other, but not a whole bunch."

Going into the last game of a 12-game schedule the Tigers are relatively healthy with just Tommy Jackson questionable on defense because of an injured knee. He could play Saturday and Chizik said that Jackson's knee has gotten much better since Saturday and it will be a game time decision. His status will be evaluated further following the Alabama game to determine whether surgery will be required.

Offensively, Anthony Mix should return to action this weekend after getting his bell rung in the Georgia game. Both fullback Brandon Johnson and center Danny Lindsey are still recovering from ankle sprains suffered against Ole Miss, but both played against Georgia and will play this weekend.

Mix catches a pass against Georgia last Saturday.

Despite a 4-7 record and several not-so-close losses in conference play, it's obvious that Chizik respects the offense that will come into Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday looking for Alabama's third consecutive win on the road in the series. Led by quarterback Brodie Croyle, running back Shaud Williams and a physical offensive line, Chizik said this will be a tough test for the defense to contain a very versatile offense.

"I think Mike (Mike Shula) has done a real good job of developing the offense as the year has gone on," Chizik said. "I know their record doesn't necessarily indicate, to me, as good as they are. You can see the offense, in the games, keep plugging along and plugging along. They come after you and come after you. Their typical game was the Tennessee game. They keep plugging back and plugging back and plugging back and put themselves back in the game."

Just like Coach Tommy Tuberville noted on Tuesday, Chizik said perhaps the most impressive thing about the Alabama offense is the toughness of Croyle. Playing with a bum shoulder for much of the season, he hasn't missed a beat and is throwing the ball well heading into the Iron Bowl.

"Brodie Croyle is a tough, tough hombre," Chizik said. "He's throwing good deep balls. He's throwing the ball well considering what's happened to him with his shoulder. He takes a hit and just keeps on ticking. He's just a really tough kid. He's playing well and you have to get to him and get pressure on him in order to slow him down."

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

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