Tuberville Enjoys Physical Practices

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Auburn's physical week of practices and the Tigers' preparation for The Citadel.

Auburn, Ala.–-With Division I-AA The Citadel coming to town this weekend, Coach Tommy Tuberville decided to use this week as one to get physical with his team. After a successful week of doing that before the Tigers traveled to Mississippi State, Tuberville said he felt like the team needed it again this week.

"The only way you can get better is to hit it in practice," Tuberville said. "Especially the young guys on defense. They've got to learn the hard way. We'll start easing back in a couple of weeks, but you don't play enough in a game to get much improvement if you don't work during the week to improve. We've still got a lot to accomplish, especially on the defensive side of the ball with some of the younger guys playing like McClover (Stanley McClover). He hasn't played near up to his potential yet and some of the other young players that are playing. It's good that we've gotten to play a lot of players, but we need to get a lot better."

Working on the game plan for the Bulldogs in addition to team work and tackling drills on Wednesday, the Tigers spent just over two hours on the practice field in full pads. Tuberville said the day was one used to correct mistakes and make an improvement at every position.

"We've had two very physical practices the last two days," Tuberville said. "We've done a lot of individual work and a lot of team work. We went back and worked on a lot of things we need to make progress on. We've still got some guys beat up. That was a very physical game Saturday. I would imagine LSU has about the same thing. It looks like most of them will play. We'll make a decision by game time what to do with a couple of guys we might need to pull out and try to get 100 percent."

Running back Ronnie Brown continues to be hampered by slightly strained hamstring. He ran on the side during Wednesday's practice and his availability for this weekend's match-up remains questionable. Quarterback Jason Campbel appears to be getting closer to 100 percent and Tuberville said the senior had a good day throwing the ball on Wednesday and should be ready to go this Saturday after spraining his big toe in Saturday's win over LSU. Defensive end Marquies Gunn's sprained knee is improving, but he watched most of Wednesday's practice from the sidelines. Linebacker Mayo Sowell returned to practice and should play on Saturday.

Ronnie Brown Auburn once again spent a great deal of time on special teams in Wednesday's practice with both punts and kickoffs covered in detail. True freshmen Brad Lester and Jerald Watson were working on the first-team kickoff returners during the practice while Watson, Carnell Williams, Tre Smith, Silas Daniels, Lee Guess and Lorenzo Ferguson all caught punts. Ferguson is expected to redshirt this season, but is taking part in some areas of practice.

This week Auburn will have a new snapper on field goals with junior walk-on Chas Crofoot taking over the job for redshirt freshman Pete Compton who will remain the snapper on punts. A former high school quarterback from Orlando, Fla. who's younger brother is the starting punt snapper for South Carolina, Crofoot said it's a dream come true to finally get a job on the team after waiting for three years to get a shot.

"My opportunity has come and I have to take advantage of it," Crofoot said. "I feel horrible for how it happened. I'm thrilled though and it's the opportunity of a lifetime. I get a chance to play in front of 80,000 people and I played for a high school that graduated 70 people and had about that many in the crowd."

After walking on as a 150-pound freshman to try his hand at deep snapping and being cut, Crofoot was just like any other student at Auburn until last year when he decided to give Coach Eddie Gran a call to see if he was needed. Walking on once again last year, Crofoot wound up playing mostly special teams defense for Auburn, a job he wasn't familiar with.

"I played safety and it was the first time I had played defense my whole life," Crofoot said. "I thought "there has to be someone that can give them a better look than me, but if they need me I'll do it". I was just happy to be out there running down the field with those guys."

Now the senior who said he was a Notre Dame fan growing up will get a chance to accomplish a goal few football players ever do, to play on a major college field in a game. He said the experience is one he'll cherish and one he hopes to get to feel again this season.

"In the spring I got the opportunity to go out and work with Pete," Crofoot said. "One thing led to another and I was second team going into the season and traveling. It was more than I ever expected. To get this opportunity now, it's awesome."

Kickoff for Saturday's game with The Citadel is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and there is no television for the contest.

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