Ivan's Arrival Doesn't Stop Auburn's Preparations

Auburn is working towards what it hopes is a big SEC West matchup against the LSU Tigers on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.–-They gathered to ride out the storm. Families of coaches, athletic department personnel and even dogs and rabbits assembled Wednesday night and Thursday at Auburn's football complex to stay safe from the rain and winds of what was Hurricane Ivan.

The storm didn't bring the type of winds that were forecast for the Auburn area. It did very little damage in the Auburn area, but Ivan has been a nuisance to the football Tigers and on Thursday it continued to hinder Auburn's preparation for Saturday's game with LSU.

Defensive backs Zach Gilbert and Will Herring pass the time at the hotel by playing a game of chess. Herring is the self-described chess master of Auburn's team while Gilbert is one of the biggest trash talkers. Should have made for an interesting game.

Deciding to keep the team in three locations at the AU Hotel and Conference Center, the Heart of Auburn motel and Sewell Hall to ensure the safety of the players, the Tigers were forced into alternate practice plans on Thursday as the remnants of Ivan continued to rain on the Plains with on and off showers and a tornado watch for much of the day. Instead of putting the players on buses and taking them to their indoor practice facility, the decision was made to work out at the Dixon Conference Center's ballroom area.

The offense and defense held separate walk-throughs as the Tigers try to polish the game plan for a game with fifth-ranked LSU scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Thursday that he is hopeful that the game will be a "go" for Saturday.

"The field at Jordan-Hare Stadium drains so well the playing surface should be fine by game time," the head coach said.

Tuberville said it has been a long and strange week of preparations, made even stranger with rabbits and other pets of the coaching staff's children taking refuge at the football complex as the coaching staff continued to work on the game plan for LSU. Children played in the halls while the coaches studied video of the defending national champions.

The team is expected to try to have a short practice early Friday morning on the SprintTurf field at the football complex and then travel to LaGrange, Ga., for its normal pre-game routine.

A decision will be made on the game Friday at an 8 a.m. meeting of Auburn officials. Interim president Dr. Ed Richardson will have the final call on whether to play or postpone the game until Nov. 6th.

With the bad weather out of the Auburn area, the forecast is for clearing on Friday and a sunny Saturday with kickoff time temperatures in the mid-80s with no chance of rain forecast.


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