Football Tigers Working To Shake Off The Rust

A report on Auburn's second Friday football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Two-a-days bowl practices came to a chilly end for the Auburn Tigers on Friday as they continued work on the Wisconsin Badgers with an hour and a half practice in sweats and shoulder pads on the Auburn campus.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said the rust is still evident on his team, but the effort has been good for the last two days of practice.

"It was cold," Tuberville said. "We have almost got all of our game plan in. What we're trying to do is get everything put in before we go to Nashville and start working on it when we get there. We made a few changes on some things that we thought wouldn't fit us after we worked on them for a couple of days. That is what this is all about.

"The execution hasn't been that great coming back from a couple of week off," Tuberville added. "That's to be expected. We got a little bit better today. Hopefully, now we can just keep putting it together."

On the injury front the Tigers are in good shape, but the offensive line is a little banged-up heading into the holidays. Tackle Steven Ross suffered a concussion during Friday afternoon's practice, but should be ready for the New Year's Day game against the Badgers. Center Danny Lindsey didn't practice in the afternoon session after spraining an ankle in the morning, but will return to practice in Nashville when the team gets back to work on Dec. 27.

Guard Monreko Crittenden jammed a finger in the morning session, but was back practicing in the afternoon. Wide receiver Anthony Mix (ankle) won't practice until the Tigers get to Nashville, but should play in the game.

Freshman Tez Doolittle, who has recovered from shoulder surgery, is working out as a defensive lineman in bowl practices. The former Opelika High standout is being redshirt this fall.

In addition to working on the game plan for the Badgers, the Tigers have also spent a great deal of time on special teams, an area of strength for the Wisconsin team. Tuberville said many times you see teams lose bowl games because of lapses in the kicking game and the Tigers are determined to avoid that in this contest.

"We've put a lot of emphasis on our special teams," Tuberville said. "Sometimes you overlook things in a bowl game and it's usually your special teams. We're not going to do that in this one. We didn't play very well in special teams all year long and we've got a lot of room for improvement."

One player that will see a significant increase in his use on special teams is Brandon Jacobs. Making the transition to linebacker this week in practice, the 6-4, 260-pounder has not seen any practice time this week at tailback. "I tell you what, he looks pretty good," Tuberville said "I know he's a little bit disgusted at how he's having to learn a new position having never played there before, but he had a couple of pretty good licks out there today. Courtney Taylor felt his presence one time. It will take him a while to pick it up. I'm going to visit with him tomorrow (Saturday) after practice and see what he wants to do, see if he wants to stay there and continue to work there through the next week. I'm going to leave it up to him, but he looks pretty good."

Auburn will practice for just over two hours on Saturday morning before breaking for the holidays. The team will resume practices in Nashville on the Vanderbilt campus beginning Dec. 27. Kickoff for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl is scheduled for just after 11 a.m. on Dec. 31.


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