Tigers Put On the Pads In Preparation For Hokies

Auburn continued its preparations for the Sugar Bowl with a contact workout on Friday.

Auburn, Ala.--Blue skies and cool weather led to what Tommy Tuberville called an upbeat session on the practice field on Friday, day two of on-campus preparations for the Sugar Bowl.

Prior to heading downtown for a SEC Championship Celebration at Toomer's Corner, the Tigers worked out in full pads with some contact work for two hours. About 25 percent of the workout was devoted to giving extra attention to backup players and redshirts who are often overlooked in the hurry to prepare a game plan during the rush of the regular season.

The Tigers, who will work out again on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before taking a Christmas break, seem to be handling the disappointment of not going to the Orange Bowl relatively well, but that doesn't mean they aren't happy about not being in the BCS championship game.

Wide receiver Courtney Taylor says the Tigers will go to New Orleans intent on finding a way to defeat Virginia Tech to finish 13-0 rather than worrying about winning with style in hopes of being voted number one in the AP poll or some other lesser known poll. "Honestly, you really don't know," he says. "It really is not our main focus trying to impress somebody or see who will rank us ahead of another team so we probably could split it (national title). We just want to win right now.

"Yes, we would like for somebody to do that, but we aren't even going to put it in our heads because that is like setting yourself up for failure."

Taylor notes that there is no guarantee that the Tigers will defeat Virginia Tech at the Sugar Bowl. The ACC champs come into the game on an eight-game winning streak. "They are going to be reading and seeing everything people are saying that these guys are taking us lightly so whatever happens, if we win."

Tuberville announced on Friday that team doctors made the decision that first team weakside linebacker Antarrious Williams will miss a third straight game. Tuberville says the decision was made to err on the side of caution as the junior continues to recover from a wrist injury. The head coach had earlier said there was a 50-50 chance that Williams would be cleared to play in the bowl game.

Travis Williams, the middle linebacker and the team's leading tackler, says he feels sorry for his friend. "I know he wanted to play in the game and I know what a good job he has done this season at weakside linebacker because that is the position I played last year," Williams notes. "A.T. is an important part of our defense, but we do have an experienced player to start in his place. Derrick Graves is a senior and he started at weakside linebacker the past two games."

Junior wide receiver Devin Aromashodu says he is particularly disappointed that the Tigers aren't playing in the Orange Bowl because he would have a chance to play very close to home. "I am excited about going to the Sugar Bowl, but I wish we the Orange Bowl. Maybe we can't get to the BCS game next year."

Aromashodu says wherever the Tigers play, he plans to enjoy himself. "Every game we play is fun," he says. "That is especially the case for the wide receivers because we go into every game knowing that we are going to be throwing the ball more this year than we did. It is really exciting. It is also real exciting to test ourselves against a really good defensive team like the one Virginia Tech has."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories