Tigers Get Dressed Up For Tuesday Practice

Auburn wore its game uniforms for Tuesday's practice as the Tigers get ready for Saturday night's ESPN showdown with Georgia Tech.

Auburn, Ala.–-Tuesday the Auburn Tigers had a dress rehearsal for a shorter than normal Tuesday practice as the players wore game uniforms to make sure the fit is right for Saturday's season opener against Georgia Tech. With work on the gameplan in full swing offensive coordinator Al Borges said that the practice was another good one for his team as the kickoff for Saturday's game gets closer.

"We may not pick up one blitz Saturday, but it won't be because we haven't worked on it," Borges said. "We have just overkilled it. Very few plays have been run without some form of blitz, slant or movement."

That's good news for most Auburn fans as the Tigers had problems with Georgia Tech's blitzing defense two seasons ago in a loss to the Yellow Jackets. While they have prepared for everything they can, Borges said that sometimes you'll see things you don't expect and you have to be ready for them.

"We've tried to prepare them for everything we've seen on video and a few other things that could happen after looking over the last few years," Borges said. "And our own defense has given us a litany of blitzes. David (Gibbs) has got a package and a half when it comes to pressures. We've seen quite a bit of stuff. There's always something, but for the most part we've tried to show them everything we can show them."

Quarterback Brandon Cox gets stretched out by Auburn trainer Arnold Gamber prior to Tuesday's practice. This is part of the regular routine for Cox each practice day.

A big difference this year than in past seasons is the fact that two-a-days and the preseason have lasted almost a full month instead of the usual three weeks. Because of that the Tigers will have a much easier week of practice leading up to the opener than normal, something that Borges said is a good idea. Gibbs echoed that sentiment and said that he's been seeing signs of life out of his defense for a while now.

"As hard as these guys work with Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) in the summer and we didn't have much time off between that and two-a-day practices, we grinded hard in two-a-days," Gibbs said. "I said it last week that we finally started to show a little spring in our step defensively. Every day out there now you can see them getting faster. We should be ready to roll Saturday night."

There is usually more scouting and planning done for the first game than any game of the season and for Auburn that won't be any different, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Trying to find ways to deal with quarterback Reggie Ball, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back P. J. Daniels, Gibbs said that his defense has been working on the gameplan for a quite a while now to make sure they know it as good as possible before kickoff.

"Our gameplan has been in for over a week," Gibbs said. "Even when we went against our offense we were running the defenses we were going to run in the game against Georgia Tech. Even though we were seeing different formations and plays, the defenses we were practicing were gameplan defenses. We're just fine tuning right now and we'll continue to do that the rest of the week."

Auburn joined together before Tuesday's practice for a group prayer for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Among those was true freshman defensive end Alonzo Horton, who lost an aunt to the flooding in New Orleans. Patrick Trahan said that everyone he's talked to is fine, but that his high school St. Augustine appears to have been destroyed. The Tigers took some time to deal with the issues as a group. Safety Steve Gandy said that his family back home in Waynesboro, Miss. got through the storm unharmed, but there was some damage to several family members' houses.

A photo of Auburn's new goal posts on the practice field.

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Something else new on the practice field Tuesday was a new goal post for the Tigers, replacing one that offensive coordinator Al Borges said could have been used by Coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan when was at Auburn. The goal post was such a welcome addition that kicker John Vaughn ran on the field and gave it a hug before practice began.

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