Tuberville And Tigers Check Out Dome

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the SEC title game while his Tigers had a short practice in the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta, Ga.–-Friday was a day for settling in for Coach Tommy Tuberville and the Auburn Tigers as they had the opportunity to check out the Georgia Dome for a light walk-through before Saturday's SEC Football Championship Game against Tennessee.

Tuberville said his team is ready after having a good week of practice and he says that a tough Vol team is waiting for them on Saturday.

"Tennessee has a good football team," Tuberville said. "I know they've had some injuries, but their staff has done a remarkable job getting the team through all the adversity and to Atlanta. Those are the types of teams that are very dangerous. They'll play loose and they'll play confident because they've been on a roll and winning a lot of games.

"We did win last time pretty convincingly early," he added. "You would hope they (Auburn) would get that our of their minds. Plus, they have played better. I know they have had some injuries, but they have a lot of skill players that have made plays. They can score from anywhere on the field. Defensively, they are very sound fundamentally and with technique. John Chavis does a good job. They don't give up many big plays."

Linebacker Kevis Burnam kicks a 45-yard field goal as the Tigers have fun during Friday's walk-through at the Georgia Dome. Burnam was a kicker in high school.

Despite much of the talk surrounding this game with the BCS standings and Auburn shooting for a shot at the national championship, what gets lost is that Tennessee is having an outstanding season. With nine wins, including a tough road win at Georgia, the Vols are capable of giving the Tigers all they can handle. Tuberville said he expects nothing less from a Phillip Fulmer coached team.

"I think it will be a very different game," Tuberville said. "Coaches try to use their talent to the fullest. We played well the first time, but we can anticipate them playing better than they did the first time. I'm sure we'll have some surprises from them on both offense and defense."

Auburn on other hand has everything going for it heading into Saturday's 5 p.m. kickoff. The Tigers have rolled over opponents left and right on the way to a perfect 11-0 record in the regular season. A confident team led by senior quarterback Jason Campbell and running backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, Tuberville said his team is single-minded in its goal to win the SEC title and not worrying about something it can't control.

"Our senior leadership has done an excellent job each week about focusing on the next game," Tuberville said. "This one has been no different. We've had two weeks to think about 11-0. We've had six good practices going into this game with the open date. Through those two weeks I've heard very little conversation in the locker room or on the practice fields about the BCS. They know they can't control anything other than how they play. That's what has been special about this group."

Something many people said would help Auburn is a convincing win over Tennessee in Saturday's game. Third right now in the BCS behind USC and Oklahoma, the Tigers might get some brownie points with a convincing win over the Vols. Tuberville said that would be nice, but right now all he's concerned about is getting the victory to remain undefeated.

"We're going to go out and play the best we can" Tuberville said. "If it's 3-0 or 14-13, then so be it. We're not looking at any spreads. We just want to play well and have an opportunity to win. Our players have accepted that and they've talked about.

"All year long we've played 70 players in almost every game. This is a team that has had a lot of fun because of that. We're not just playing the starters and they understand that this is going to be a tough game. You don't even consider anything about putting up a lot of points. You better go out there and play well and hope you come up with more points than Tennessee."

Taking time to walk the playing surface at the Georgia Dome, the players and coaches all seemed pleased with the turf they'll be playing on Saturday night. Similar in style to the turf at Ole Miss, the surface is softer than Auburn's practice field turf, but should be very playable for both teams. The wide receivers and defensive backs spent some extra time cutting to make sure the cleats they'll wear in the game are the right style for the Dome.

Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. CST and can be seen nationally on CBS.


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