Rain Forces Tigers Indoors

Forced indoors because of inclement weather, the Auburn Tigers used Monday afternoon's practice to continue the learning work for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Auburn, Ala.--With the rain falling heavily outside, the Auburn Tigers practiced in the friendly confines of the Watson Field House on Monday evening in shorts and shoulder pads, using the time wisely to get in much of the mental work necessary to play a game. Without the room needed for both units to go full speed, the coaching staff worked first on the kicking game before doing scout team and skeleton work the rest of the practice.

Tim Carter returns a kickoff in Monday's practice.

Fine tuning the offense, coordinator Noel Mazzone gave the majority of the snaps in the afternoon practice to redshirt freshman Jason Campbell instead of the normal rotation between Campbell and Daniel Cobb. Campbell responded with yet another solid day throwing the ball as the Tigers worked on formations and plays they will use against the Tar Heels.

Defensively, the Tigers worked on formations and getting lined up right. That has become a tough chore of late as linebackers Mark Brown and Mayo Sowell are both out of practice now with minor injuries. That coupled with the loss of Phillip Pate earlier in the season has thrust walk-on Jamal Greer and newcomer Lemarcus Rowell into the practice rotation. Those moves, plus the absences of Demarco McNeil and Marcus White at the defensive tackle spots, have left the unit virtually helpless at times this week. Still, head coach Tommy Tuberville said the defense has to step up its play as the week progresses.

"We've also had a goal line scrimmage each of the last two days and offensively they've dominated," Tuberville said. "The defense is a little bit in the tank but they are going to have to pick it up because we are going to do that the rest of the week."

Monreko Crittenden blocks Alton Moore in a pass rush drill on Monday. The sophomore offensive lineman is working some at both tackle and guard this week.

Up front the future offensive line is coming along slowly but surely as the unit is getting the bulk of the work in practice at the moment. Having to replace three starters up front before next season, Tuberville says he likes what he has seen out of the group and hopes to get them some time in the game against North Carolina.

"We had been trying to do that all year long, but every game is nip and tuck," he noted. "Every series and possession is so valuable. That would be a great scenario, but we'll just have to wait and see. They are always prepared to go in or they are one step away from going in. We'll see how the game goes. Hugh (Nall) has talked about putting one in at a time. We just want to make sure we get every snap right because every snap is crucial to this team."

The Tigers will continue working towards the Peach Bowl with two practices again on Tuesday. Because of the amount of rain that fell Monday, the Tigers will likely practice indoors on Tuesday morning before heading outside once again in the afternoon.


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