Back To The Basics

Auburn, Ala.--Following a disappointing 42-17 loss on the road at the hands of the Arkansas Razorbacks, the Tigers returned to the practice fields on Tuesday for the first of three workouts they will have during the off-week.

Going back to a spring training mentality of being more physical both on offense and defense, Auburn the full squad practiced for 90 minutes an on a beautiful fall afternoon and the players responded with one of the more intense workouts since two-a-days. Several scuffles took place as Reggie Torbor and Jay Ratliff tangled first before Kwesi Drake and Ryan Broome finished off the festivities with a tussle of their own.

As expected, much of the focus of the practice time for the offense was spent on the quarterback position. With the job up in the air once again after so-so performances by Daniel Cobb in his last two outings, freshman Jason Campbell will be given a serious ook in practice the next two weeks and could win the job before the Tigers travel to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Either way offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone says the Tigers have several things they must do to get better, no matter who the quarterback is.

"It always comes down to the same thing," he notes. "You look at the NFL stats. You look at Kurt Warner in St. Louis, they get beat and he has four turnovers. He throws four interceptions and they fumble it twice and they get beat. It doesn't matter who you are. Until we understand that we're not going to win football games. That's one thing we're definitely going to do, we're going to hang on to the football. If it makes us be a little bit more conservative offensively then so be it, that's what we'll be."

Cobb agrees with his coach, saying that it's not too hard to guess what will happen if he continues to turn the ball over at critical times. Showing a tendency for both the big play and the big turnover in the past two games, the senior knows what is expected of the quarterback in this offense and says that he feels he's up to the challenge.

"Turning the ball over is just something we cannot do," he notes. "It's something that I've done and it has to be eliminated or else I won't be in there. It's plain and simple. I'm a grown man, I know facts are facts. We can't turn the ball over and win."

Defensively, the unit worked on the option looks that hurt them last Saturday, in particular having 11 players running to the football. With several starters and top players banged up heading into the off-week, the day was used to get players like Phillip Pate, Dante Booker, Ronald Samuel and Derrick Graves some work they wouldn't get in a normal game week.

The Tigers will practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking Friday and Saturday off. They will return to the practice fields Sunday afternoon to resume their normal work-week in preparation for the Georgia Bulldogs.

After the full squad finished its workout, a 40-man group of reserves and walk-ons had their first practice in preparation for the junior varsity game on Thursday. They will take on Georgia Military College at 5 p.m. inside Jordan-Hare Stadium. Admission is free for the game as Auburn takes on the number one junior college team in the country.

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