Senior Defender Says Tigers Ready For Rebs

Defensive end Bret Eddins and Coach Tommy Tuberville talk about this Saturday's game against Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.–-Senior Bret Eddins has seen his share of good time and bad times in his five seasons at Auburn. While things are going good and the Tigers are riding high with a number four ranking in the BCS and a perfect 8-0 season, the Montgomery native said that none of the team's goals have been accomplished yet and there's still plenty of work to do beginning with winning the Western Division Saturday night in Oxford, Miss.

"We're close to it, but we're one game away from dropping through the polls," Eddins said. "We're a couple of games from giving up the West. We just have to take it one game at a time and concentrate on Ole Miss. We're trying not to look past this and not put too much on any one game or look past it at all. Right now we're just worried about playing Ole Miss. They came here and beat us last year. We know the kind of team they are. We're just going to have to go there and play our best."

Many times a team has a "trap" game, a game in which an opponent can be overlooked because of its record. That could be the case for Auburn this week playing an Ole Miss team that is just 3-4 overall with losses to Memphis and Wyoming, but Eddins said all this team has to do is remember last season or watch Ole Miss against Tennessee to be reminded of how dangerous this weekend's game is going to be.

"I think because of last year and what they did against Tennessee and against other teams this year keeps you from looking past teams," Eddins said. "It keeps you from worrying about other things rather than this week. They're a good team. They always play us hard. Coach (David) Cutcliffe is a good coach and they have great players over there. We're going to have to go over there and play them in their place, at night, on TV. It's going to be tough. They're going to ready to play so we're going to have to play as well as we can."

Auburn put the finishing touches on the gameplan for Ole Miss with a Thursday practice that lasted just over one hour. Coach Tommy Tuberville said that the week has been a solid one for his team as they get ready for a team that is coming off an off week last week.

"We had a good week of practice," Tuberville said. "We've got the gameplan in and are ready to go. It's been a spirited week of practice. The guys are excited about the game being a night game and on TV. It has been a good week for everybody. Everybody is back. (Kevin Sears) Sears is back. Jeremy Ingle is the only one that won't play that played last week.

Linebacker Kevin Sears is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend.

We've done a lot of work on the kicking game. Obviously, we're expecting anything from Ole Miss because of two weeks off. We don't really know who the quarterback is going to be. We're kind of guessing there. Doesn't make any difference though, we'll play the same for all three of them."

One of the concerns coming into the season was how quickly Auburn would be able to grasp the West Coast system under Coach Al Borges. So far it has been a smooth transition as the Tigers lead the league in total offense after eight games. Tuberville said the unit continues to get better with each week and he's excited about some of the opportunities for plays in this game.

"It looks like we got even better this week," Tuberville said. "I'm amazed at this group and how concentrated they are on working and getting better. We've got a good gameplan. I think it's one that is very different, even from the ones we've had. We've got a lot of new things to run and show. I'm looking forward to Saturday."

"We put in about 6-12 new plays a game," Tuberville added. "We've been running this now since spring practice. I don't know how many plays we've run, probably 125-175 variations of plays we have. Each week we'll add some and each week we'll drop some. We'll add one or two new wrinkles with formations and motions."

Road games can sometimes be unnerving for offensive units, particularly ones that depend on checks at the line of scrimmage as much as Auburn does sometimes. Tuberville said having the experience of playing on the road twice already this season give the Tigers confidence that they can get the job done in a hostile environment like they'll see Saturday night in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"We were a little bit scared at Tennessee with our movements because of the crowd, but it didn't bother us at all," Tuberville said. "We didn't have any motion penalties. Their stadium is about 55,000 or 60,000 so I don't think we'll have any problem with crowd noise, but I'm sure they'll be loud early. That's what we're telling our players. We just have to keep our focus and play hard.

"We've gone to Mississippi State and Tennessee," Tuberville added. "We came out and played well early and didn't let anything bother us. You play how you practice and we practice well. I think the coaches have done a good job of the time limits on practice and how much contact we have. It's been a pretty good combination. Everything so far has kind of worked how we've done it. I think our legs are as fresh as they can be after around 70 practices since two-a-days."

Because of the quick starts in every game this season with the exception of the LSU victory, there is a school of thought that believes this Auburn team would have trouble in a close game. Tuberville said that he doesn't feel like this team would suffer in a close game because of the experience, but they have to be ready for just that this week against the Rebels.

"Almost all of the games except LSU we've been able to jump out quick and we've been able to, not relax, but we've still had to concentrate and communicate," Tuberville said. "Sooner or later we're going to have one, it could be this week, that's going to go down to the fourth quarter. Hopefully we understand and focus well enough that we can work through it."

Kickoff for Saturday night's game against Ole Miss is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and can be seen nationally on ESPN.


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