Tigers Finish Preparations For Alabama

Auburn continued preparations for Saturday's game with Alabama while getting ready for possible wet conditions.

Auburn, Ala.–-When the Auburn Tigers take on Alabama Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Coach Tommy Tuberville's club will be shooting for the first undefeated regular season for the school in over 10 years. To do that it will take a victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium something Auburn has done every time they've played there in history.

Even though everything is in Auburn's favor, you couldn't convince senior quarterback Jason Campbell that Saturday is going to be easy. A veteran of the rivalry and going for his third straight win in the series, Campbell said that the seniors have already given the young players a talk this week to give them an idea of what to expect with this rivalry.

"We had a team meeting (on Sunday) and talked about this game, about the focus, what we've done to get to this point and how not to slow down and continue to progress," Campbell said. "About the Alabama game, we just told the younger guys about how it's going to be different than any other game you've played in all year."

Auburn's history of playing well in Tuscaloosa flies into the face of the history of this series, as Alabama holds a 38-29-1 advantage overall. But recently Auburn has more often been the team to beat when the two teams square off. Under Tuberville the Tigers are 3-2 against the Crimson Tide and Auburn has won 12 of the last 22 meetings between the two schools dating back to 1982.

Jason Campbell leads the Tigers into Saturday's contest against Alabama.

The confidence the Tigers take into this weekend's showdown with Alabama has more to do this season than past history though. Auburn is on a roll after winning its last 12 games overall and ranked second in the AP poll. Campbell said the team is feeding off the success this season and just working to keep the good feelings going strong the rest of the way.

"I think it plays into it a lot because your confidence is so high," Campbell said. "You've just got that winning attitude. When you've got that winning attitude it just seems like everything flows because everyone is playing hard. We always know that teams are going to give us their best and we try to match their intensity."

Coming off an impressive victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in which the offensive line dominated things up front, Campbell said that he's glad to be able to work with senior Jeremy Ingle for a second straight week. Auburn's quarterback for the offensive line, Ingle was out for the Ole Miss game, but returned at less than 100 percent to play well against the Bulldogs. Campbell said having him makes a big difference for the guys up front.

"Every time he was hurt I would run up to him and say "Ingle, you can't go out right now"," Campbell said of the Georgia game. "I told him if he could just get one hand on a person that will be fine because we would do our best to be elusive and make them miss and make a play. We just wanted him to be in there and it's very important for him to be in there.

"Carnell, Ronnie and myself get all the talk in the papers, but I think our offensive line should get all the credit," he added. "They opened up holes and I didn't get pressured on all (against Georgia). It was just one of those games that was dominated up front. Those guys did a great job and I think they've been doing a great job all year."

A player who will go down in the books as one of Auburn's all-time great quarterbacks, Campbell is going for his 29th career win as a starter for the Tigers this Saturday and has just nine career losses. Currently he's second in school history in passing yardage, fourth in attempts, second in completions, first in completion percentage, second in touchdown passes and third in lowest interception percentage. Campbell said it's hard to believe his career is winding down to a close.

"We're having a great year, but it's sad to say that it's coming to a close" Campbell said. "It's just one of those things that you understand you're setting the tempo for years to come. We just want to try to set up and build something at Auburn that hasn't been done in a long time. Right now we're just trying to stay focused on one game at a time starting this week with Alabama. They've been doing a great job of playing this year with all the injuries that they've had. We have a tremendous amount of respect for them."

Auburn put the finishing touches on the preparation for Alabama Thursday with a practice in shorts and shoulder pads that lasted just under two hours. Focusing on polishing the gameplan, Tuberville said the team appears ready to play and he's looking forward to seeing how they respond on Saturday.

"We had a good practice," Tuberville said. "It was very spirited. We were in the stadium again. We worked on the gameplan and a lot of kicking game. We worked on a lot of different scenarios. This is the last practice for a week so obviously all of our guys are fired up about it. We're really looking forward to the game Saturday.

"We've had real good practices with good leadership," Tuberville added. "They are really into the gameplan and focused. We look forward to playing well. We prepared today for any kind of rain. We snapped wet balls to punters and kickers with the snappers and centers. Jason (Jason Campbell) handled the ball, Brandon (Brandon Cox) handled the ball just to get prepared for that. It looks like it might be all the way through by then."

With rain expected this weekend in Tuscaloosa the Tigers spent time on Thursday with wet footballs to try to simulate the conditions if it is raining on Saturday. The managers had buckets of water to dip balls into before putting them into play during the practice.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen nationally on CBS television.


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