Tiger Wideout and Tuberville Discuss Trip To UT

Comments from junior Ben Obomanu and Tommy Tuberville are featured after Auburn's Thursday football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Following the most productive game of the season with the passing attack in Auburn's victory last Saturday over The Citadel, Ben Obomanu says he and his wide receiver teammates are hoping they will be major factors in Auburn's SEC showdown at Tennessee.

"Each game we are trying to get more and more confident in the system," says the junior, who is a key receiver in Al Borges' version of the West Coast Offense. Borges arrived at Auburn as the offensive coordinator just before the start of spring training and made major changes to the offense, especially the passing game.

Al Borges is flanked by QBs Dusty Goodwin (10) and Jason Campbell (17) at Thursday's practice.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers put the finishing touches on their game plan with a practice in shorts on Thursday. The Tigers will fly to Knoxville on Friday where they will face the Tennessee Volunteers at 6:45 p.m. CDT in a game nationally televised by ESPN.

Auburn, which is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, is ranked eighth and ninth this week. UT, which is 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, is ranked eighth and 10th.

Obomanu says the Tigers have spent the week correcting mistakes in execution so the offense will operate the way Borges wants. Saturday night in Knoxville, good execution will be critical to Auburn's chances in what is expected to be a tough environment for an opposing offense with more than 100,000 fans expected at noisy Neyland Stadium.

"I believe with some of the things we do it might be a little difficult to hear and get the audibles and things, but we have been working on things to deal with that," the junior says.

Obomanu has nine catches for 116 yards this season with two going for touchdowns. Devin Aromashodu, another junior, leads in receiving yards with 161, four ahead of sophomore Courtney Taylor. Anthony Mix has nine catches for 107 yards and a total of a dozen receivers have caught passes.

"A lot of formations and situational things we do are to try to catch defenses off guard," Obomanu says of the Tiger offense. "We may run deep routes and basic plays from some weird formation that requires the defense to spend a lot more time to study for and it is kind of hard for them when they only have four or five days to prepare for us.

"With what we are doing, a lot of teams will probably stay in a base defense when they play us, which is something that can be to our advantage," Obomanu adds.

The junior caught one pass in last year's 28-21 victory over the Vols and it went 29 yards for a touchdown. His 2004 team looks to have the potential to put up bigger numbers in the passing game and finish with a better record than last season's 9-4 mark

"We know that we have put ourselves in a pretty good situation and we want to expand on that," Obomanu says. "Coach Tuberville told us that winning is contagious and throughout this team it has become contagious. This team goes into every game with a lot of confidence that we can win."

Auburn will need confidence and a lot of good plays if it is going to move to 5-0 as the Tigers will face a talented Tennessee team on Saturday in Knoxville.

Practice Notes: Tuberville says after studying the Volunteers and comparing them to the 2003 UT team, he notes that the Vols are different when they have the football. "They are not as consistent on offense because of the two quarterbacks, but they are different. They look a lot like we do. They are starting to run the ball more. Last year, they would rather just line up and throw it every down. This year they haven't been as consistent because of the two quarterbacks, but I think we will see a lot of No. 10 (Erik Ainge)...Tuberville says that the Tigers "feel good" about their game plan as they wrapped up preparations for Tennessee with a 90-minute workout in shorts on Thursday that had a heavy emphasis on the kicking game...The Tigers will drive to Columbus, Ga., on Friday afternoon and catch a charter flight to Knoxville...The football coach's wives take one trip a year with the team and the UT game is the 2004 trip...

Tre Smith is shown running in Thursday's practice. The junior running back is expected to see actiong this week after missing last week's game with a shoulder problem.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Offensive guard Tim Duckworth, who had his knee scoped last week, was doing rehab work on the side on Thursday and is expected to be cleared for practice on Sunday when the Tigers begin preparations for the homecoming game vs. Louisiana Tech...Two former Tigers who are playing in the NFL stopped by the football complex to see their former coaches on Thursday--fullback Heath Evans of the Seattle Seahawks and Spencer Johnson of the Minnesota Vikings. Evans says he likes the new offensive system that was installed by Al Borges. Evans and Borges compared notes on offensive terminology.


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