Rogers And Tigers Wary Of Jones

Cornerback Carlos Rogers discusses Auburn's game with Arkansas while Coach Tommy Tuberville says he's pleased with the way the Tigers are practicing.

Auburn, Ala.–-When the 4th-ranked Auburn Tigers (6-0, 3-0) face the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-2, 1-1) this Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium the key for defensive coordinator Gene Chizik's defense is going to be slowing down standout quarterback Matt Jones.

Normally that would be the main job of the front seven, but this season Jones has done damage through the air and on the ground. Leading the SEC in passing at 253 yards per game, Arkansas is a dangerous offensive team that has definitely caught the eye of Auburn senior cornerback Carlos Rogers.

"It's a challenge just like facing Tennessee's quarterbacks or LSU's quarterbacks," Rogers said. "It's a big challenge, a guy that can throw the ball and run. Once he gets to scrambling that makes it easy on us, we just have to find our receivers. Basically, we've got other players to force him to throw the ball and trying to tackle him."

Carlos Rogers and the Auburn secondary will be challenged by the Razorback offense.

A big part of Auburn's game plan against Arkansas will be for the front four to get pressure up front and allow the linebackers to play the run and make sure Jones doesn't get outside the pocket for big running plays. For younger players like Stanley McClover, Quentin Groves, Marquies Gunn and Christopher Browder this will be the biggest challenge of the season because of the discipline it takes as a defensive end to stay at home and keep Jones from turning the corner. Rogers said he believes the front seven can get the job done this week because of the steady improvement it has made this season.

"I see them coming along," Rogers said. "They are improving every game. I saw that early in the season. People didn't expect them to come out and play like they have. Also our linebackers are playing well. Antarrious, Travis and Kevin are improving each game.

"Everybody is trying to improve. We're not where we want to be. Obviously, we're doing pretty good right now. We still see things on Sunday that we need to improve on. We go out each game and each practice to try to get better."

Leading the SEC in scoring defense and rushing defense and second in the league in total defense and passing defense, Auburn has been very good for Chizik despite replacing five starters off last season's team. Rogers said that the key for the team has been having success early as a defense and buying into Chizik's defense full tilt.

"Confidence plays a big part, especially in the secondary," Rogers said. "You must have confidence and keep it when things are going good. When things are going bad you need the confidence that you're going to make a big stop. It plays a big part in our defense and playing together with confidence is huge."

On the field later than normal for a Wednesday after spending more time in meetings, the Tigers practiced for nearly two and a half hours in preparation for the Razorbacks. Coach Tommy Tuberville said the day was a good one for his team as it continues to work on the game plan for this weekend's showdown.

"We had a real good practice today," Tuberville said. "The guys are really into it and fired up. I continue to be amazed at how these guys are having fun at practice. I think the cool weather had a little bit to do with it. I think they are excited about the game this week, they are looking forward to it. It's going to be a big challenge for us on both sides, including the kicking game.

"We're playing a team that has been open for a week. They've got everybody rested up and ready to go. Fortunately it's a home game for us and we've been playing pretty well. The thing we want to do is play our kind of football game and keep improving and see what happens. We worked on everything today. Wednesdays have been sort of a polish day like we normally do on Thursdays. We're trying to keep the fire in them and practicing hard, so we're learning and we'll keep getting better."

Auburn's injury situation is as good as a team could expect after six consecutive weeks of play. Running back Tre Smith is the only player doubtful for this weekend's game and Tuberville said that several key players, including starters Junior Rosegreen and Kevin Sears, look like they'll be ready to play against the Hogs after practicing well on Tuesday.

"It was good to see Tony Bell back out there today," Tuberville said. "He pulled a hamstring a little bit, but he's going full speed. Tim Duckworth is going full speed after being about 75 percent last week."

Auburn will practice on Thursday and have a short walk-through on Friday to wrap up preparations for the Razorbacks. Kickoff for Saturday's game against Arkansas is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally on CBS Television.


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