Coach Tommy Tuberville sent his Tigers through a light workout on Thursday in preparation for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. home game vs. Louisiana Tech. It will be Senior Day for the Tigers with all of those players and parents being honored in pre-game ceremonies.
One of the senior starters, defensive end Bret Eddins, said the Tigers are taking Saturday's game vs. the 3-2 Bulldogs quite seriously even though Tech lost 42-17 to the Tennessee team that Auburn spanked 34-10 last Saturday.
"I think we can definitely improve up front with our pass rush," Eddins says. "There are little things we can improve on all across the defense and I think we are going to have to improve to be successful with some of the games we have got coming up."
Junior wide receiver Courtney Taylor, who had an impressive performance vs. Tennessee that included a touchdown catch, agrees with Eddins that the Tigers need to work on getting better as they try to move their record to 6-0 this week. "I feel like we have a lot of weapons on offense, but we have a long way to go," he says. "That is what makes it so exciting knowing that we have a long way to go and we can get so much better."
The Tigers wrapped up preparations for Louisiana Tech by rehearsing the offensive and defensive game plans as well as working on the kicking game, which was impressive last Saturday night vs. Tennessee. The Tigers will make their traditional pre-game trip to LaGrange, Ga., on Friday evening to spend the night in a hotel there and have team meetings, however, much of the coaching staff will be on the road scouting high school prospects.
Louisiana Tech will arrive at Jordan-Hare Stadium boosted by a 28-21 Western Athletic Conference victory over Fresno State when that team was ranked 17th nationally. Tech and defending champion Boise State are the only two teams in the WAC unbeaten in conference play. The other eight teams each have one conference loss.
Auburn coaches want to see their team do a better job of tackling this week than the Tigers did after allowing more than 70 yards after initial contact by Vol running backs, quarterbacks and receivers at Tennessee last week. Auburn's defense is expected to be tested by Louisiana Tech junior tailback Ryan Moats, one of the top running backs in the nation.
Moats has nine career 100-yard rushing games and five of better than 200 yards, which is a Louisiana Tech record. He ran for 236 yards last week vs. Fresno State.
The game will be available on a pay per view basis in the states of Alabama and Louisiana. Auburn, which is sixth in the major polls this week, is the 27th nationally ranked opponent the Bulldogs have faced. They have come away a winner just twice in those games.
As has been the case throughout the week, pro scouts were on hand to check out the Thursday practice. Since the Tigers defeated LSU, NFL teams have regularly been sending representatives to Auburn workouts to check out Tuberville's team.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges (left) talks to a pair of NFL scouts prior to Thursday's practice.
"We had a real good week of practice and the spirits are high," Tuberville said Thursday.
The head coach said, "We are expecting it to be a tough game for us. We are preparing for it. Hopefully, we will continue to get better."
Practice Notes: Backup center Steven Ross is making improvements and could see expanded playing time this week...Reserve tailback Tre Smith is questionable for the game with a shoulder problem, Tuberville says...Traditionally Auburn has Senior Day at the final home game, but Tuberville made the change this year because he wanted to do it for a non-conference week instead of prior to the Georgia game on Nov. 13th. The seniors and their parents will be honored in pre-game ceremonies...Defensive players Will Herring and Josh Thompson got a not so pleasant surprise when they were stuck in the football complex elevator for more than an hour prior to practice before they were rescued...Louisiana Tech's No. 2 quarterback is Zac Champion, a redshirt freshman who played his high school football in the Birmingham area at Bessemer Academy. He was not recruited by Auburn...The Tigers did wet ball drills on Thursday because there is a chance of rain for the game, but the latest forecast indicate it may just be cloudy with temperatures in the 70s...Brad Lester, the freshman tailback, is definitely out of the game with a toe injury. He will likely redshirt...Tuberville says that defensive end Doug Langenfeld's shoulder is bothering him, but the senior is expected to play...Tuberville says the staff's decision to play a lot of players early in the season has paid dividends by building depth, especially on defense.
Tech Notes: Louisiana Tech plays seven of its 11 games away from home, the most of any team in its conference. Two of those home games, victories over Nevada and Louisiana-LaFayette, came within a five-day stretch...Tech coach Jack Bicknell, a 1984 Boston College graduate, is 0-2 vs. Auburn. His overall record is 30-34 in six seasons...Tech's is rated 86th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 30.4 points per contest while scoring 21.4.