Tuberville, Tigers Put Final Touches On Game Plan

A report on Thursday's practice is featured along with comments from players and coaches.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking to end the trend of the home team underdog winning in the Iron Bowl rivalry, Auburn conducted the final practice of the 2003 regular season with a light tuneup on Thursday.

Auburn senior linebacker Karlos Dansby says, "We are just going to believe in each other and try to go out and get the job done."

The senior All-America candidate will be playing his final game at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night. Auburn is a disappointing 6-5 and Alabama is a disappointing 4-7. Despite the records, the linebacker says the game will be as intense as always. "This is one of those rivalries you wait 365 days to see as a person growing up in the state of Alabama. I am going out and try to make it special."

Karlos Dansby

The Tigers knocked off the Tide 17-7 last year in Tuscaloosa in a game in which Alabama was a Top 10 team. This year the Tide will finish with a losing record no matter what happens on Saturday with just two games left. Bama plays at Hawaii and then puts away the pads for good because the Tide is on probation and is not bowl eligible, even if the team was good enough to deserve a bid.

Two years ago in Auburn, the Tigers were looking to move on to the SEC Championship Game with a win over Alabama, but were upset in shocking fashion, going down 31-7 on their home turf. Auburn star running back Carnell Williams got off to an impressive start that day, but was injured early and that seemed to unsettle the Tigers.

Williams missed last year's Auburn victory in Tuscaloosa with another injury so Saturday night's game is an opportunity for Williams to shine for four quarters, something that quarterback quarterback Jason Campbell says his fellow junior desperately wants to do. "He is very excited," Campbell notes. "It is something that he has wanted to do since he was little. I think he is ready for it."

Demarco McNeil

Senior defensive lineman Demarco McNeil says he is looking forward to Saturday night's game. The noseguard says if Alabama wants to try to get physical with his Tigers on Saturday night he is looking forward to the challenge. "We take pride in trying to stop run and I hope they do try to establish the run so we can see who the better man is," McNeil says. "I hope we can stop the run. It is going to be a tough physical ball game. It is Alabama vs. Auburn. They are going to give it all they have and we are going to give it all we have."

McNeil had one of his best collegiate games last Saturday as he caused problems for the Georgia offensive line that struggled to block him in Athens.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said that the Tigers had a good review session on Thursday going over the game plans for offense, defense and the kicking game. Freshman John Vaughn will get the call again as the field goal kicker with Philip Yost handling the kickoffs and long field goals if AU decides to attempt any. "I want Philip to concentrate more on kickoffs this week," Tuberville said.

The Auburn coach said he has seen progress in his team at practice this week. "I feel good about what we have done, how we have done it and the things we are doing. Now it is a players' game, as we call it. When you play a rival game like this players really get motivated on both sides."

As is customary, the Tigers will leave town on Friday evening and return two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff for the Tiger Walk which is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. ESPN TV coverage will start at 6:45 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium.


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