Tune-up Time For Tuberville's Tigers

Auburn, Ala.-- Coach <b>Tommy Tuberville</b> gave his team a break from the pads Thursday as the Tigers worked out in shorts and helmets for just over an hour on a relatively cool evening at the AU Athletic Complex.

Tiger players were in good spirits as they focused on the kicking game and fine-tuning the game plan for Saturday's showdown with cross-state rival Alabama. There was a friendly visitor in the skies at the workout as the Monster.com Blimp made a quick practice run over the city as it passed back and forth over the AU practice fields several times towards the beginning of the workout.

"We worked on every phase of our game plan from short yardarge to long yardage," Tuberville said. "Everybody was in good spirits. We went out in just helmets today. I thought we looked a little tired yesterday. It gave them a chance to get their legs back. We need them to be as fresh as they can be Saturday."

The blimp buzzed practice on Thursday. It also had a fly-over at Sunday's workout.

On in the injury front, offensive tackle Mark Pera practiced for the second consecutive day after spraining an ankle in the Georgia game. Tuberville said it was good to see him out there and he was moving around "pretty good."

The rest of the Tigers also looked to have a little extra spring in their step on Thursday. "Anytime you don't come out in pads it kind of livens everybody up," Tuberville said. "That's another reason I did it. We've been grinding them pretty good. It's been a long two weeks getting ready for Georgia and this game. It's a very emotional two-game stretch and it's tough to do this, but I think they're mentally prepared as well as physically, so we'll see what happens."

The on-field preparations are over for Auburn, but Tuberville said the Tigers will spend time Friday night and Saturday morning watching film on the Tide just to make sure they have the game plan down and know their assignments for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.

"We are excited about the game and we will be ready to play," says junior tight end Lorenzo Diamond. "We are looking forward to playing our best offensive game of the year."

Fans wanting to get into the game atmosphere a little early can head to downtown Auburn on Friday afternoon for the Beat Bama Parade which is set to begin at 3:45 p.m.

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