Tigers Get Head Start On Bulldogs

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Auburn's Wednesday practice and getting ready for Georgia.

Auburn, Ala.–-Despite overcast skies and a light drizzle at times, the third-ranked Auburn Tigers practiced for just over an hour Wednesday as they got through the second of three practices this week before taking Friday and Saturday off. Coach Tommy Tuberville said the day was a good one and the Tigers are getting a lot of work in for the Georgia Bulldogs.

"We got a lot done," Tuberville said. "We've got a lot of our gameplan it. We haven't had a lot of contact, but we've had a little bit. We worked on a little bit of the kicking game. We mainly wanted for the first two days to get our offense and defense in."

Thursday's practice will be much of the same for the Tigers as just offensive coordinator Al Borges and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik will be the only coaches present as the rest of the staff will be on the road recruiting. Tuberville will be speaking in LaGrange, Ga. and also on the recruiting trail as well.

"We're going to walk through the gameplan with the players for about 45 minutes to an hour," Tuberville said. "Then they get Friday and Saturday off. We're trying to get some people healthy. That's the only two days we've really had some contact. We'll come back Sunday afternoon and start getting after it."

Starting center Jeremy Ingle

Auburn's injury situation appears to be getting better by the day as center Jeremy Ingle ran some during Wednesday's practice and looks to be coming along nicely after spraining an ankle against Arkansas two weeks ago. Defensive lineman Tommy Jackson is also getting better and Tuberville said he should be ready for the Bulldogs.

"Ingle was out there running pretty good today," Tuberville said. "He's still a ways away, but hopefully we can get him back by Sunday or Tuesday. It looks pretty good. We haven't hit Jay Ratliff (ankle) or Kevin Sears (shoulder), we're just trying to get them to 100 (percent). They could play, we're just trying to get them to 100. T.J. is probably about 80 percent. He should be full speed by Sunday."

Unlike in past seasons, Auburn's off week has consisted of very little contact after playing nine straight games. Instead, the Tigers have focused on mental work and getting the gameplan in for Georgia. Tuberville said that it can sometimes be boring, but it's what his team needs to get ready for the rest of the season.

"This week is kind of like watching paint dry," Tuberville said. "That's by design. We want everybody just listening and going through the motions knowing that we're going to pick it back up Sunday. Everybody needed to rest mentally as much as physically. It hasn't been much of a business week here this week, it has been a little bit laid back because you can't keep the intensity up for two weeks. Sunday it will start picking up like a regular game week. That will be our full pad practice."

Auburn is in a very good situation with just two regular season games remaining. The Tigers are just getting to a week off, unlike most teams who have already rested and are now on the home stretch of their season. One of those is Georgia. After breaking early, the Bulldogs will be playing their ninth straight game when they travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium next Saturday. Tuberville said a stretch that long is tough on a team and really affected the Tigers last week at Ole Miss.

"It's nine weeks of up and down," Tuberville said. "You start at the bottom and go all the way to the top on Saturday and after the game you go all the way down to the bottom again. It's tough mentally preparing you mind every week to play like we played. It's not like we took a week off in there. Our guys played hard every week and were ready to play every week. It showed by the first half of most games. This was needed. We could have played physically, but mentally I was real skeptical last week because we made more mental mistakes last week in practice that we had made in the two or three weeks previous to that. It was just because our minds were tired and it's hard to keep thinking about the same things over and over."

The Tigers now get ready for Thursday's shortened practice before taking the weekend off. Offensive tackle Troy Reddick said that it's a strange practice week for the team, but one they needed with a tough Georgia team up next.

"It's very different from the two off weeks I've had since I've been here," Reddick said. "The first two off weeks were hell weeks, we just worked so hard. With us being undefeated, we're taking it a little easier and trying to get a lot of stuff worked in and healing up from the last game. You can actually call this an off week for the first time since I've been at Auburn. It makes you feel more positive about going into the next week of practice."

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