Tigers Going Full Speed Ahead On LSU Preparations

Auburn's head football coach discusses the weather and preparations for a game vs. LSU.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville said he isn't expecting a decision until Thursday or Friday whether or not the LSU at Auburn football game will be played or postponed.

With a lot of uncertainty about when and where Hurricane Ivan will cause problems later this week, Tuberville said the Tigers are going full speed ahead with preparations for Saturday's SEC West showdown.

"We obviously all hope we play a football game," Tuberville said. "The number one thing is about safety for both Auburn and LSU fans. We're going to have a problem for the next couple of days. My understanding is that the eye of the hurricane is going to be somewhere around our vicinity around noon on Thursday. We'll see how much damage we have from there, and if it's feasible to play the football game on Saturday--to be able to get everything put back together and have everybody safe. The administration will make that decision. If not, it looks like the other alternative is to move it to an open date."

Auburn and LSU both of have open date on Nov. 6, which would be the only alternative if the game is canceled. Tuberville said that the decision will be made to play or cancel the game by Auburn interim president Dr. Ed Richardson.

"Obviously, Coach Saban and I both would love to play the game this week, but the number one factor is safety," Tuberville said. "Again, that's all we know. There won't be any decision made until after Thursday. And the next few days we'll see about the weather because it changes dramatically."

In fact, some projections now have the path of the hurricane missing the Auburn area completely with the storm tracking more to the west.

Tuberville said that LSU presents a big challenge with an abundance of talent on both sides of the ball, and the weather conditions throughout the week will hinder game preparations as well.

"Today (Tuesday) will probably be the only day we'll get out and practice outside," he said. "We do have a small indoor workout area where we can alternate offense and defense and special teams to work out Wednesday, Thursday and some on Friday and that it is our plan.

"As we hear from weather reports there will be probably no outside practices after today so that's a little bit concerning because early in the season you still need work on technique and fundamentals. We're not near where we need to be in those areas. The only way you can do those is have contact and you need plenty of area and room in practice to do that. But we'll have opportunities to put in a game plan, and we'll probably go a little bit longer today because this will be the only opportunity to get outside and work on as much as we can."

Tuberville has a 3-2 record against LSU since arriving in 1999, but Auburn lost last year's contest 31-7 in Baton Rouge. The average margin of victory the last five games between the schools is 22.4 points with the closest contest a 27-14 LSU victory in 2001 in a game that was moved to end of the season because of 9/11. The home team has won the last four meetings.

"I think it's a marquee game for both of us," Tuberville said. "We're looking forward to it. Our players have circled this game on the calendar over the last six months. This will be a major test to see where we're at, especially with our offense and with a lot of new defensive players having to play against a very athletic offense that we'll see in LSU. But it should be exciting, and we just hope we'll have an opportunity to play it and to have an opportunity for our fans on both sides--Auburn and LSU--to enjoy it."

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