Football Outlook Promising On Eligibility Front

Auburn's head football coach comments on the 2004 season.

Auburn, Ala.--With a little more than a month to go before preseason football practice starts at Auburn, Coach Tommy Tuberville's 2004 team looks to be in good shape on the academic front.

With 13 starters returning from last season's team along with 34 other lettermen, the head coach is not expecting attrition due to grade problems.

The outlook looks promising for the incoming signee class, too. With defensive lineman Pat Sims of Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale qualifying, with the exception of sign-to-place lineman prospect Greg Smith of Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, there is a solid chance that all of the 2004 signees who are scheduled to report on August 5th will be academic qualifiers.

"In the last few years, we have kind of changed our philosophy in recruiting to go along with the new academic requirements," Tuberville says. "As much as they have tightened them, over the next three or four years they are going to be tougher and tougher to get players into school with higher test scores and more core courses eligibility-wise.

"Then to keep their eligibility each year they are here, it is going to get tougher and tougher so what you have got to do is adjust your recruiting. You can take some chances on players who may be academic risks, but most of them have got to be academically sound.

"They have got to have a good work ethic and they have to be willing to put in the effort to keep close to a B average in college and work towards the degree each year," Tuberville adds.

All of the returning players are scheduled to report on August 6th. The Tigers will put on the pads for the first time on August 11th as they make preparations for the season opener at home on Sept. 4 vs. Louisiana-Monroe. The conference opener is a week later at Mississippi State.


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