Tigers Put Finishing Touches On Plan For Badgers

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the week of practice for the Tigers heading into the Christmas holidays.

Auburn, Ala.--As has become a custom under Coach Tommy Tuberville's Auburn teams, the senior linebackers get a royal exit at the final practice of the year on the Auburn campus. For Karlos Dansby and Dontarrious Thomas that meant riding off on the shoulders of teammates such as Travis Williams, Antarrious Williams and Mayo Sowell. Tuberville said following the nearly two-hour practice in full pads that he is pleased with the work the team has done in the last three days.

"We got all of our game plan in," Tuberville said. "This was the last day for our seniors to practice on this field. It has been a good group."

With just one practice scheduled for the day before the team left for home and the holidays, the spirits were again high as the offense and defense both battled for much of the practice in one of the more physical practices of the season. Tuberville said that just the thoughts of going home were enough to guarantee a good practice to close out the week.

"They were excited and it's been a long time since last August," Tuberville said. "They are looking forward to going home and getting a few days off."

Montae Pitts works in drills during Saturday's practice while Coach Phillip Lolley looks on.

Injuries on the offensive line continue to be a thorn in the side for the Tigers as offensive tackle Mark Pera saw some time at center on Saturday morning in case he's needed against the Wisconsin Badgers. With the line expected to be intact when the Tigers report to Nashville on Dec. 26 and begin practice the following day, Tuberville said his team did some things for precautions on Saturday.

"Danny Lindsey has a sprained ankle and didn't practice today," Tuberville said. "Anthony Mix didn't practice. We worked Mark Pera some at center because we have to make sure we have enough centers going into this game. Will Ward hurt his knee yesterday, our third center, and I don't know how that's going to look for next week's game. We'll just have to see next week when we get the bowl practice."

Something that has helped the offense is facing a defensive scout team filled with the future of the Auburn Tigers on defense. Up front Stanley McClover, Josh Thompson and Tez Doolittle give the line a good look while linebacker Quentin Groves, safety Eric Brock and cornerbacks Patrick Lee and Courtney Denson are all athletic and run to the ball well. Tuberville said the looks they give the offense can't be talked about enough.

"They are about as good as I've seen and they have a lot of fun doing it to," Tuberville said. "They are a good group."

The Tigers now break for the holidays and will report to Nashville on Dec. 27 for practices at Vanderbilt University. Kickoff for the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl is scheduled for just after 11 a.m. on New Year's Eve and can be seen on ESPN. Tuberville said the week has been just what the doctor ordered for the program after a tough couple of weeks leading into practice.

"It's gone good," Tuberville said. "We've got most everything in. We've had to jam it in because we've had to recruit a little bit harder than we normally would because of all the problems that we've had, but everything has gone good."


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