Tigers To Have A Different Look This Week

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about making some changes during the off-week on both offense and defense.

Auburn, Ala.-–The 20th-ranked Auburn Tigers get back to business this weekend following an off week when they travel to Fayetteville, Ark. to face the 2-3 Arkansas Razorbacks. It will be Auburn's first road game of the season and coach Tommy Tuberville says that when the Tigers take the field there will be some changes in the way they do things. That comes as a result of having a week off to take a look back at the first five games.

"We had an opportunity last week to do several things," Tuberville says. "Number one is on an open date you always go back and self-scout what you've done and who you're playing to make sure you've got everybody in the right positions. Do you have any tendencies on what you're doing on first, second, and third down on offense and defense? Who's consistently playing good in certain defensive or offensive plays? Who's consistently not playing good?

"We went from top to bottom with every player on the team, including special teams," he adds. "We've got some ideas on how we think this team can be better, mentally as well as physically. Hopefully we've got all the pieces of the puzzle in the right spot going into this game against Arkansas continuing on through the next five regular season games."

Having the chance to take a hard look at your own team is sometimes the best way for a football team to improve and it's something that Tuberville and his staff have always taken seriously during off weeks. Last week was that opportunity and Tuberville says it was important to get it done thoroughly because there won't be much time for that again until the end of the season.

"It's hard to change in a one-week time," Tuberville says. "It's hard to find time in the day to go back and do what we did last week, really evaluating what we did the first five games. We self-scout every week, but to put it all together and look at it is kind of hard to do in the midst of six straight games. We'll have a different gameplan each week going into the games.

"We'll look a little bit different this week in a lot of areas," he adds. "In this ballgame there are a lot of things we'll do and try, formations, plays, defenses, blitzes, stunts, special teams, all those things. We'll look a little bit different in some areas because we think the change will make us better."

Quarterback Brandon Cox makes his first road start this weekend at Arkansas.

A team that has improved each week since the opening night loss to Georgia Tech, Auburn enters the Arkansas contest on a roll after an impressive win against South Carolina. While that win proved that the Tigers could handle a team that wasn't as physical as they were, this week Tuberville says a win would give his team the confidence they'll need the rest of the season.

"We've gotten a lot of confidence over the last few games, but that is confidence that can be improved in all areas," Tuberville says. "I think the entire team of 50, 60, 70 guys that might play in the game need to build their confidence each week on how they can do it and what they can do and what limits they can go to. You have to do them in a different venue now, take it on the road and do the same things.

"When you go on the road in this league two things you have to keep are your confidence and your poise. There are going to be momentum shifts so there will be some areas we'll have to have a training session on this week with a lot of the players that haven't played on the road. We've got a lot of experienced guys that have mentored to the younger guys so I don't think we'll have any problem. We'll just play our game and see what happens."

One of the younger players that will be starting his first game on the road is sophomore quarterback Brandon Cox. A redshirt sophomore, Cox will have to be the rock for the Auburn offense in the face of a loud crown at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. But, that's something Tuberville says he doesn't worry about with the calm left-hander.

"The guy that you maybe get a little concerned about is your quarterback, but Brandon has communicated well in the first four games he's played in," Tuberville says. "He's done a good job and kept his poise. The one thing I don't worry about with Brandon is his poise.

"He's very low-key, a low demeanor just like Jason Campbell. He never shows any nervousness. He just goes out and plays his game. That's the type of quarterback we want and it will pay off for you when you go on the road. I would expect Brandon to really play well."

Tuberville says that the Tigers go into the Arkansas game healthy as both Courtney Taylor and Josh Thompson have returned to practice following ankle sprains. Both are nearing 100 percent and will be ready to go against the Razorbacks on Saturday night at 6 o'clock. The status of center Steven Ross remains in question though as he continues to be bothered by a strained hip flexor. He's scheduled to return to practice on Tuesday afternoon, but if he's unable to go the starting job will return to Joe Cope for Saturday's game.


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