Kentucky On The Mind Of Tuberville

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about facing Kentucky this week on the road and takes a look back at Auburn's win over Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Following a 27-3 win over Western Division foe Ole Miss on Saturday, head coach Tommy Tuberville turns his attention to the Kentucky Wildcats and his first coaching visit to Lexington.

"Everybody plays better at home and we're going to their place," Tuberville says of Saturday's upcoming road affair. "None of our guys have been there and played there. It'll be a completely different trip.

"Last year we played very well against them but their quarterback was out," he adds of Auburn's 42-10 victory. "This year their quarterback (Andre Woodson) has been playing all year. They won last week, they've got the momentum, but you've got to go practice, put a game plan in and execute."

Kentucky, at 2-5 overall and 1-3 in league play, is coming off a 13-7 home victory over Mississippi State. Auburn enters the game at 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the SEC after its win against Ole Miss, a game in which Tuberville says his team graded out with a low B minus.

"It was a good win for us," Tuberville notes. "We didn't play our best game. It was a workman-like day. We didn't play with a lot of intensity or excitement early and you're going to have games like that.

"We knew that it was going to be a situation where guys were going to have to play through it after the game the previous week," he adds. "It looked like we were still sleeping getting up and playing at 11:30 a.m.. We played well enough to win and that's the mark of a good team. We had some real bright points."

The Tigers came out of the Ole Miss game elatively healthy with only one serious injury, that to backup tailback Carl Stewart late in the fourth quarter.

"Carl Stewart with his MCL will not play this week," Tuberville says. "He'll be week to week. They're going to give him an MRI (Monday). The doctors think it's just a sprained knee and hopefully he'll be back Sunday (after the Kentucky game)."

Marquies Gunn had one of his best career games against Ole Miss on Saturday.

Brad Lester, who pulled his groin two weeks ago against Arkansas in his first start, is not expected to return against the Wildcats. With only two healthy tailbacks, Kenny Irons and Tre Smith, Tuberville says that safety/tailback Tristan Davis will be on offense this week.

Senior linebacker Antarrious Williams, who missed the Ole Miss game and was limited against LSU, is expected to be ready to play Saturday.

Another area of concern is at punt returner, where Smith muffed a punt and fumbled another return on Saturday. Tuberville says that the situation will be addressed this week by special teams and running backs coach Eddie Gran.

"We had a couple of fumbles on punts and that's not going to be acceptable in the next few games, obviously, for us to have an opportunity to win," Tuberville says. "It's good that we got those out of the way and to know we need to work on that going down the stretch.

"Tre is our starter and he's done well for us so far," he adds. "He made a good run and just fumbled it. He'll have a football glued to him for the next seven days. That's Eddie Gran's punishment. He'll get tired of carrying it."

After grading the film on Sunday Cooper Wallace (offense), Marquies Gunn (defense) and Josh Hebert (special teams) were named the teams' players of the week.

Wallace was held without a catch but Tuberville says that he and backup tight end Cole Bennett did a great job blocking against the Rebels.

"Cooper Wallace played his best game since he's been at Auburn," Tuberville says. "He was very consistent and his technique was outstanding. His backup Cole Bennett played his best game. It was good to see our tight ends come out and really play well and block consistently. That's an area we're really going to have to take advantage of down the stretch."

Marquies Gunn was almost always around the football and played a huge part in limiting Ole Miss to 23 yards rushing on 27 carries. The junior defensive end was credited with six solo tackles, three tackles for a loss, two quarterback hurries and a sack.

"He continues to be the most active guy inside," Tuberville says. "We're playing him inside some at tackle. He's making some plays, he's quick off the ball and he continues to play very physical. Tommy Jackson played a very good game too though. He really continues to improve. Both of those guys are really stepping up play."

Little known Josh Hebert, a 5-10 184-pound redshirt freshman from Houston, played a tremendous game on the kickoff coverage team making the tackle on all three Ole Miss returns in which the Rebels managed only 53 yards.

"He's kind of like your 12th man because he knows when he gets out there that that's the only time he's going to get out there," Tuberville says of Hebert in reference to the Texas A&M walk-on on special teams tradition. "He wants to make a name for himself and he got a big ovation in the special teams meeting today about how he played.

"There are a lot guys sitting on the bench who are on scholarship and should be out there," he adds. "He's not about to let anybody take his spot. He's just doing it by effort and determination. You wish you had a few more guys like that who have the same mentality. He enjoys special teams, he knows his role and he has done well."


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