Football Tigers Return To Practice Field

Auburn, Ala.--Wind sprints, video studies, a lecture from <b>Tommy Tuberville</b> and time off were the focus of Sunday's day after the disaster for the Auburn football Tigers.

With no classes in session during Thanksgiving week, the Tigers were told they can go home until Saturday when they will begin preparations for LSU. That game will be televised at 6:45 p.m. Central time on Dec. 1st by ESPN from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

If Auburn wins at LSU, the Tigers will repeat as SEC West champions. If Auburn loses, AU will tie for the divisional crown but lose the tiebreaker to either LSU or Arkansas. Auburn has two league losses and both of those teams have three, however, the Bayou Bengals and Razorbacks will have an elimination game on Friday in Baton Rouge with the loser out of the race.

"If somebody told me we were going to be playing for the conference (West) championship the last game of the year, I would have been tickled to death and I think 99 percent of our fans would have been, too," Tuberville said on Sunday. "I would have hoped that we would have played better in this game (vs. Alabama). Win or lose, we should have played better and that is the bottom line."

Senior offensive tackle Kendall Simmons noted the team is in the dumps after its 31-7 loss to Alabama. The All-America candidate said there is no silver lining to the dark cloud of that game that he can think of, however, he said he expects his Tigers to be ready for the regular season finale. "I believe we will play a good game at LSU," he said. "We just didn't get the job done against Alabama. This team will be ready to play in two weeks."

Simmons said losing freshman tailback Carnell "Cadillac" Williams with a broken clavicle will hurt the offense, but can be overcome. "It is tough because he is an exciting player who runs hard, but we have three other tailbacks who can get the job done. I believe they will step up."

After the game on Saturday night, Tuberville said he hoped that Williams would be able to return to action for the Dec. 8th SEC Championship Game if the Tigers make it to Atlanta. However, on Sunday the medical report was that Cadillac will be out of action four to six weeks.

Williams said Sunday night that he will do everything possible to be back for a bowl game. "I have never had a serious injury like a broken bone so I am taking it as a challenge to get the rehab done and get back to full speed as soon as possible," he said.

The freshman said that when he hurt his shoulder on the opening series of the Alabama game when he was at the bottom of a pile of tacklers, he thought it was just a stinger. However, when the shoulder began to swell, team doctors ordered X-rays and discovered the broken bone. Williams said it was frustrating to watch the second half from the sidelines and noted, "I kept expecting our offense to get going and take control out there."

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said it was "the toughest loss" in his 19-year long coaching career and took responsibility for the Tigers scoring just one touchdown. Mazzone said the Tigers were a "very upset" football team at the Sunday meetings and practice, "especially after watching the film and seeing all of the opportunities there were to make plays." Mazzone added, "Just like coaches, they feel the same way I do, all of the opportunities I had to coach them a little better or call a little better play in certain situations which always comes up after a loss. Sometimes that is a hard pill to swallow."

The only good news is that the Tigers got out of the game with only one serious injury. Fullback Brandon Johnson, who left the game after taking a blow to the knee, did not have a serious injury and should be full speed for the LSU game.

Quarterback Daniel Cobb suffered a hyper-extended elbow on his left arm. Tuberville said even if Cobb was not hurt, Jason Campbell would be the pick to be the No. 1 quarterback if the Tigers had to play a game right away. Campbell said if he does get that opportunity vs. LSU, he will be ready. "I have spent a lot of time working with Coach Mazzone the last few weeks and feel confident that I am ready to play better."

Campbell was the starter until being pulled in the first half of the Florida game. Cobb has been a hot and cold quarterback since then. Mazzone said the senior played just "average" vs. Alabama.

The Tigers are expected to practice Saturday and Sunday and then the following Tuesday through Thursday next week before making the road trip to Baton Rouge.

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