Tuberville Glad To See Spurrier Back In SEC

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Steve Spurrier being back in the SEC and the health of his team heading into the week.

Auburn, Ala.--Following a 37-14 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville and his squad turn their attention to an unfamiliar foe in South Carolina but a familiar face in Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier.

"We're glad to have him back," Tuberville says Spurrier's return to the SEC. "I was one of the guys who spoke up and said we were going to miss him because he brought a lot to our conference. He brought a lot of interest back and we look forward to playing him every year. He's a good coach."

Tuberville has a 1-4 head coaching record (0-1 at Ole Miss and 1-3 at Auburn) against Spurrier. The Ole Ball Coach, who is back in the SEC after two seasons with the Washington Redskins and one year playing golf, had a 10-3 record against Auburn while at Florida from 1990-2001. Auburn's victories over Spurrier were when his Gators were ranked fourth in 1993, first in 1994 and first in 2001. Meanwhile, Auburn hasn't played South Carolina since a 23-6 Tiger win in Columbia in 1997.

Spurrier said Sunday that his starting quarterback, Blake Mitchell, is doubtful for the game with an ankle injury suffered on Saturday against Troy, but Tuberville says his status won't affect game preparations for the Tigers.

"We'll game plan for both of them," he says. "The other one (Antonio Heffner) has played some. We're going to count on Mitchell starting and we're going to have a game plan for the other guy, just like you do for a starting quarterback and a backup quarterback. You've got to have a game plan for both of those."

Josh Thompson's return would be a big boost to the Auburn defensive front.

On the Auburn injury/illness front, quarterback Brandon Cox did not practice Sunday while recovering from a stomach virus but is expected to return Tuesday. Receiver Courtney Taylor's status is still up in the air with a sprained ankle.

"They (the trainers) said he's probable for the game," Tuberville says. "He's going to have to practice Tuesday and Wednesday for us to have an opportunity to put him in the game."

Two Auburn defensive linemen returned to the practice field Sunday. "I had a good practice out there finally," says Josh Thompson, who has been held out with a sore ankle. "It felt good. It's been tough not being able to do anything out there."

Stanley McClover, who played only one snap against Western Kentucky, was also back at practice. "Everything felt real good and I ran around pretty good today," he says. "I had it taped up real good. I'll be ready by Saturday."

Auburn players of the week for the Western Kentucky game were tailback Brad Lester, defensive end Marquies Gunn, kicker John Vaughn and holder Matthew Motley.

"Lester played well and consistent," Tuberville says. "On special teams and running back he gets better every week. He gives us that extra gear. Marquies is still the most physical guy we have on defense. He plays hard every down and gets a lot of penetration. I think he had two pressures and a sack. He continues to make plays in the backfield.

"John and Motley, those two guys, it was a real consistent day for them," Tuberville adds. "Motley had a couple of high snaps and did a good job of getting those down. They've worked real good together all fall."

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