Tigers Prepare For Rivalry Game

Auburn, Ala.--Working out 90 minutes in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads on Thursday, the Tigers put the final touches on the game plans for the 105th football matchup of the Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs.

For Tigers from Georgia like redshirt freshman Donnay Young, this is perhaps the biggest game of the season. In Young's case, there is no doubt about as the redshirt freshman prepares for his first college start.

Young said he noticed a major increase in the intensity of defense in practice this week. "We have a lot of guys on our defense from Georgia and nobody wants to lose this game for that reason and because of our chance to win the SEC Championship."

Young, who is from College Park, Ga., has moved ahead of junior Stanford Simmons on the depth chart. Defensive coordinator John Lovett, who is the position coach for the safeties, said that Simmons should see some playing time in a reserve duty and added that he will keep a close eye on Young during the Georgia game to see how the redshirt freshman responds. "Donnay has done a good job for us in both games and practice," Lovett said.

Auburn and Georgia will kickoff at approximately 2:30 p.m. CST from Sanford Stadium on the campus of the University of Georgia. The 24th-ranked Tigers, 6-2 overall and 4-1 in SEC play, go into the contest as underdogs vs. the 5-2 Bulldogs, who are ranked 19th. An Auburn victory at a stadium where it has won eight of its last nine games would put the Tigers in the driver's seat to repeat as SEC West champions.

Coach Tommy Tuberville gave the entire week of preparations a thumbs up on Thursday. The Tigers were off last week and have been using the time to attempt to eliminate mistakes on offense and tackling problems that surfaced in the past two games, a victory over Louisiana Tech and a loss to Arkansas.

"I think we are ready to play," Tuberville said. "We will find out Saturday. The emotions are high. The guys have worked hard. Today we worked a little more on the kicking than we have the past two weeks. I think our concentration has been a lot better and our focus has been a lot better."

Tuberville said that with the exception of junior cornerback Horace Willis, who suffered an ankle sprain in practice this week, all of the first and second string players should be ready for action this week.

On Thursday, Tuberville was named one of 10 candidates for the Football News 2001 Coach of the Year. The other candidates include John Bunting (North Carolina), Larry Coker (Miami, Fla.), Gary Crowton (Brigham Young), Ralph Friedgen (Maryland), Ken Hatfield (Rice), Paul Pasqualoni (Syracuse), Mike Price (Washington State), Frank Solich (Nebraska) and Tyrone Willingham (Stanford).

Three finalists will be named on Nov. 20th and the winner will be announced on Dec. 12th. Bob Stoops of Oklahoma won the award in 2000.

For Auburn Daniel Cobb has withstood a challenge to his starting job from redshirt freshman Jason Campbell and will be making his third consecutive start. He originally signed with Georgia as a high school senior, but was unable to play there due to medical problems that almost ended his football playing days.

Cobb said that he is excited about the opportunity to play in Sanford Stadium for the first time but noted that he must play better than he did at Arkansas if the Tigers are going to win. "I need to take care of the ball and make the right read," Cobb said. "I don't need to give the other team a chance by giving them the ball in our territory. It is important to us to really concentrate on those things."

Saturday's game will be the first start for true freshman tailback Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who has been impressive all week in practice. "The things he is doing now are extremely impressive," Cobb said. "He is certainly an asset to this offense and the team as whole. He is a change of pace from Ronnie (Brown) and Casinious (Moore) because he does have a quicker step than they do into the hole. At the same time, he doesn't usually come down from the first tackler, much like Ronnie and Casinious."

The Tigers shared their practice facilities on Thursday with the Vernon High Bulldogs, who were looking for a place to work out before a state playoff game Friday night vs. Lanett High School. After finishing their drills at the Auburn indoor facility, the Vernon players watched the Tigers run the two-minute drill with the first offense going against the first defense and the second offense vs. the second defense.

Auburn will have a light workout on Friday before heading for northwest Atlanta to spend the night. The Tigers will not practice in Athens on Friday.

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