Tuberville Says Practice Tempo to Increase

Comments from Auburn's head coach are featured on what he says the Tigers need to do to improve.

Auburn, Ala.--As heavily favored Auburn continues preparations for Saturday's non-conference home game vs. Ball State, head coach Tommy Tuberville says his 1-1 football team needs to focus on improving everything it does.

"The thing we want to do this week--and obviously the number one goal is to win the game--is we have to continue to improve," Tuberville says. "We have to improve not just physically, but mentally. And not just as players, but as coaches because this is a new team.

"You coach each team a little different. We have got to know the right buttons to push to get this team motivated to play each week.

"We have made changes in how we have practiced," Tuberville notes. "Even in the first two weeks we pulled back. We have done things differently to try to help things in certain areas. It is not just players, it is also coaches."

"Hopefully, this week we touch the right buttons and get better in the kicking game," the head coach adds. "We have got to improve in every area because we are not good enough, as we speak, to play in the top echelon of the SEC. We have got to improve. We understand that, our players understand that. The potential is there, we just have to keep working to get better.

"Sometimes, as I told our players last week, I thought it might be pulling back in practice, which is what we did. We didn't practice nearly as hard last week in some areas. We cut back on the time because we felt like with the long month of two-a-days we might have been dragging a little bit in the Georgia Tech game."

Tuberville has won 11 straight SEC games, but is playing a team from the MAC in week three.

After evaluating last week's practices and the 28-0 victory over Mississippi State, Tuberville says that was the right thing to do.

"This week we are going to turn it up a little bit more," the head coach says. "We feel like we have got our legs back a little better. We played more people and we think that going into this week we need to push them a little bit harder in some areas to try and get the improvement we feel like it is going to take to win this conference."

Saturday's game could also be an opportunity for younger players to see action with a variety of players less than full speed. Starting tailback Tre Smith has an MCL sprain and is questionable for the Ball State game. Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill has a similar problem. Wide receiver Lee Guess has been slow to recover from an ankle sprain and is questionable again this week.

On defense, 2004 All-SEC middle linebacker Travis Williams is nursing a turf toe injury, noseguard Josh Thompson is not full speed with an ankle sprain and end Stanley McClover is less than full speed with an ankle injury.

The Tigers play their final two non-conference games the following two Saturdays vs. Ball State and Western Kentucky before facing seven more SEC contests beginning with an Oct. 1 showdown vs. South Carolina.

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