Tigers Begin Arkansas Preparations

Auburn, Ala.--Following a roller-coaster ride of a football game Saturday afternoon in Jordan-Hare Stadium that saw the Tigers open up a big lead on visiting Louisiana Tech before having to hold on and win the game in overtime, the team returned to work Sunday with a tougher than normal practice.

Upset at the number of loafs and missed tackles on defense and the turnovers on offense, the coaches spent the majority of the day putting the players through running drills incorporated with their normal Sunday work. Defensively, the Tigers worked on running to the ball while the offense, especially the line, worked on getting the running game back untracked after a so-so effort Saturday afternoon.

"It was an interesting day," head coach Tommy Tuberville notes about Saturday's win. "We made some good plays, we made some average plays, we didn't get any better in the kicking game. We've got to continue to improve. The only good thing about it is we found some guys who came back, were healthy and played this week. We didn't get any new injuries. We should be pretty much 100 percent going into this week's game."

Among the injured expected back are linebackers Mark Brown and Tavarreus Pounds, who missed the last two games because of neck and knee problems, respectively. Also expected to be full strength is cornerback Travaris Robinson, who has been limited the last two weeks with a sprained knee.

Linebacker Dontarrious Thomas returned to action Saturday afternoon after suffering a slight knee sprain against the Gators. The problems didn't seem to affect him too much as he recorded nine tackles and the game-saving interception on his way to earning the coaches' defensive player of the week for the game. The offensive player of the game was Deandre Green after his eight-catch, 121-yard, two-touchdown performance. The special teams player of the game was freshman Derrick Graves, who recorded two tackles against Louisiana Tech and has six on the year, all on special teams.

With nothing but conference games from this point forward, Auburn gets a chance to advance in the race for the SEC Western Division crown when the Tigers travel to Arkansas this weekend for a key division showdown. While the Tigers have a two-game lead over the Ole Miss Rebels and some breathing room, Tuberville concedes this team will have to play much better down the stretch to make their goals become a reality.

"We start our four game stretch now," he notes. "Three on the road and one at home. Four conference games, we're in control of our own destiny. All four teams are good football teams, everybody has improved. We're going to have to play a lot better than what we played this past week to have a chance to win any of them. We're going to take it one game at a time, go into this ball game and play hard and see what happens."

The Tigers take Monday off before returning to practice Tuesday through Thursday. They travel to Fayetteville Friday for Saturday's game against Arkansas. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and can be seen regionally on Jefferson-Pilot Sports.

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