Tuberville Sees Progress From His Tigers

Auburn's head football coach comments on his team's rout of South Carolina.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said he saw a lot to like as his Tigers improved to 2-0 in the SEC with a 48-7 victory over South Carolina.

"It was an excellent team effort from top to bottom," he said. "We got our focus and we got better--on offense, defense and the kicking game."

Auburn dominated South Carolina starting with the opening possession to the delight of the more than 87,000 fans who watched the action.

"We have gotten better in the last month," Tuberville said. "We have got a good football team that is getting better."

Tuberville will give his players a day off from their normal Sunday workout and practices won't resume until Tuesday. With no game until a road trip to Arkansas on the 15th, the head coach said the Tigers will concentrate on football fundamentals.

"We have got a lot road games, the next four out of six games, so we have got to prepare for that. I am proud of where the team is at. We have gotten better each week and our guys were really prepared."

The Tigers improved to 4-1 this season while South Carolina dropped to 2-3 as the two teams met for the first time since the 1997 season.

As the Tigers exited their locker room prior to the opening kickoff, they hooked up arm-in-arm before running onto the field. That was a entrance borrowed from the 2004 team.

"That is our first time," Tuberville said of the "hooking up" entrance. "Our players felt it is time to get back closer together and believing in the guy next to you. That is what it is all about. Know that they are going to do your job and you do your job.

"We have been pretty much a separate team the last few weeks knowing that we were going to win the game," he said. "We needed to play closer together and more tight to the vest. That was totally their idea."

The crowd responded to the team's enthusiasm, something the players mentioned after the victory. Tuberville noticed it, too.

"It was a great crowd game," he said. "We had a lot of people here. The last few weeks it has been down a bit, knowing who we were playing. It was great to see our crowd get back into it."

Auburn will be on the road for its next two games. "We are going to need a lot of that (crowd support) as we go," Tuberville said. "I am sure we will have a great traveling group going to Arkansas and LSU and when we come back for Ole Miss in a month, which is a long time. Hopefully, we will have that type of crowd when we come back."

The Tigers shut out Mississippi State 28-0 in their previous SEC game and came close to doing it again until the Gamecocks hit a 45-yard scoring pass vs. the reserves in the fourth quarter.

"Unfortunately we gave up that long pass," said Tuberville, who watched cornerback Montae Pitts get beat deep. "We just got run by and that is uncalled for on the long pass," the coach said.

"Our guys fought hard," the head coach added. "We contained the quarterback to the most point. The thing we wanted to do was not let them run the quarterback draw.

"Defensively, we got better again. We are playing a lot of guys. We are going to have a lot better defense at the end of the year. Hopefully, we can get a lot better as we go. We need to improve in some areas. Playing all of the different players we are playing, we are getting a lot of valuable of experience."

Commenting on the offense, Tuberville said, "The big thing is the offensive linemen working with the quarterback with all the audibles and things. It's is good to see all of it coming together. We played a lot of players. We played a lot of our backup offensive linemen in the second quarter. Brandon (Cox) is learning to play with all the guys. We stayed away from the penalties, and we have done a good job of being consistent.

"We made some long drives out there," Tuberville added. "We are pretty much where I would hope we would be, but we still have a lot of room for improvement."

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