Tigers Preparing For Biggest Test Of Season

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about this week's game against the Georgia Bulldogs and why this is an important game for the program.

Auburn, Ala.--The 9-0 Auburn Tigers are back at work Sunday after two days off to get ready for the 8-1 Georgia Bulldogs, who come to Jordan-Hare Saturday at 2:30 p.m. for a game that has huge implications for the Auburn program.

"It's a big game for all of us," Coach Tommy Tuberville says. "It's a big game for Auburn. Just listening to people call and letters I've gotten. I didn't realize that this is the first time Auburn has been 9-0 with a chance to play for a national championship (without being on probation).

"It's a step forward for all of us," he adds. "Everybody here at Auburn: the football team, the players, the athletic program. We're going to play a good football game."

Auburn, ranked third in both the AP Poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, played nine games in as many weeks to start the season and are coming off a much-needed off week. "We were worn out mentally and physically nine weeks in a row," Tuberville says. "Players are tired of coaches and coaches are tired of players, and we needed a little time off. It was a relaxing week last week. We had some guys banged up that are back to 100 percent. We were probably able to put in more of a precise game plan and work on it a little bit more than you would for a regular game with only three days.

"Today (Sunday) we'll have a little contact and be in full pads for the only time this week," he adds. "We'll add a little more to the game plan today especially in the kicking game. We'll take (Monday) off, which is our normal off day during the week, and we'll come back Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, polish up our game and get ready for this game."

David Greene

Georgia, ranked fifth in the AP Poll and eighth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, is likely Auburn's toughest opponent of the regular season. Auburn will likely be ranked third in the BCS standings released Monday and will need a strong showing against a quality opponent like the Bulldogs to make up ground in the BCS.

"If you get to this point, they all were as big as this one," Tuberville says. "This one just happens to be at the point now where we've earned a shot at, I guess three shots, at trying to get to the national championship game."

The Bulldogs, who are 6-1 in SEC play, come to Auburn on a four-game winning streak. "Georgia is playing well," Tuberville says. "I had a chance to watch a little bit on TV Saturday. They're a good football team and very athletic on both sides. They've really been playing well. They've got the most experienced quarterback that we'll have faced and it's showing. They make a lot of play on offense and they have a lot of good skill players.

"Defensively, they have some awesome football players," he adds. "They run to the football, they're very technique sound and have played well and consistently all year long. This will be a challenge for us. It will be a big challenge. We definitely needed this off date to get ready for this game and we look forward to the rest of the week taking it one day at a time until we get to Saturday."

Auburn's biggest wins this season have come against a pair of two-loss teams, LSU and Tennessee. With the game being televised nationally on CBS, the Tigers may have a chance to sway the voters their way with a big win. ESPN's College Gameday will be in Auburn also.

On the injury front, Tuberville says that center Jeremy Ingle is close to 100 percent and should be ready for Saturday. Backup center Steven Ross will have surgery Monday to repair a torn ACL.

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