Jackson Ready To Get Back Into SEC Play

Noseguard Tommy Jackson talks about Saturday night's game against South Carolina.

Auburn, Ala.–-For Tommy Jackson there is nothing like a night game in Jordan-Hare Stadium. This weekend he gets another chance for one as South Carolina comes to town to face Auburn at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Jackson said that everything surrounding a night game is exciting for the players involved and he's ready for it.

"I enjoy it a lot," Jackson said. "I think it is a different feel. People are jacked. Jordan-Hare at night, golly. It's fun to play in the daytime, but the crowd is different at night. They have been watching football all day and you finally get there and you're ready to go."

Courtney Taylor's return to the Auburn lineup should bolster an already solid receiving corps for the Tigers.

A master of talking up the opponent each and every week, the senior gives you the impression that each and every game is the SEC Championship. While this week is very important in Auburn's quest to reach just that game, Jackson said it's no different than any other game the Tigers play this season.

"You have to approach every game the same," Jackson said. "You approach it as just another Saturday. You have to go out there and work. It's a work day and a work week. You just have to get it done."

Almost as quickly as that was said though, Jackson noted that while you approach the games the same it doesn't mean the intensity level around the practice field and on gamedays is the game as that of a non-conference week.

"It does (have a different feel)," Jackson said. "You try your best to approach it as being another work week, but we know what this is. This is going on our (seniors) fourth-year in this conference. It's the best conference in football, it's so competitive. Week-in and week-out you have to be on your p's and q's, you've got to be ready."

Jackson and his defensive mates will have a challenge this weekend defending the offense of South Carolina's Steve Spurrier. Known for throwing the football all around the lot, Spurrier's offense may be quite different this Saturday night with starting quarterback Blake Mitchell expected to be out with a sprained ankle. That presses athletic Antonio Heffner into action, something that Jackson said the Tigers have to be ready for.

"He's an athletic quarterback," Jackson said. "It's something we have seen over the years. It's something you have to be prepared for and you have to be able to play it. Whether it was him playing or whoever else, you've got to be able to do your job. Every man on the defense has a job to do. You just have to prepare."

Putting the finishing touches on the gameplan for South Carolina, the Auburn Tigers practiced for just over an hour Thursday afternoon. Coach Tommy Tuberville said the week has been a good one for his team as they get ready to take on a conference foe once again following two non-conference games.

"We had a good practice today," Tuberville said. "It was very enthusiastic. I think it was because of the weather. It was a little bit cooler today. We were very sharp and ready to play. The guys are fired up about being back in the SEC.

"It looks like everybody is pretty much healthy," he added. "Courtney Taylor got better today as he was yesterday. He'll be close to 100 percent Saturday night. We're excited about that. We look forward to playing."

The only injury for the Tigers entering the game is a minor ankle injury to true freshman defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. A player that has improved with playing time each week, Marks is listed as the back-up to Wayne Dickens at tackle, but the likely rotation will be Josh Thompson backing at second-team tackle and nose along with Tez Doolittle.

"He (Marks) tweaked it yesterday," Tuberville said. "Hopefully we can get him back for Saturday. He's not in the equation anyway (with Thompson back). It's SEC time. Sen'Derrick is going to be fine. He's practiced the first two days. We're just trying to get him 100 percent."

The Tigers will have a short walk-through on Friday with Saturday's kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN2. South Carolina is looking to avoid starting 0-3 in the SEC, which would give Spurrier his first three-loss SEC regular season ever. Coming into the game Spurrier is 91-18 in SEC games with 1992 the only time he lost three conference games in season, the third coming to Alabama in Birmingham at the inaugural SEC Championship Game at Legion Field.

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