Tuberville Says Badgers Know How to Win

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tommy Tuberville says that he has respect for Auburn's bowl opponent and notes his team will be taking the game seriously despite being solid favorites vs. the Wisconsin Badgers.

"This will be a good football game," says Tuberville, whose Tigers began preparing for the Badgers on Thursday. "They have a team that knows how to win. Coach (Barry) Alvarez has done a great job at Wisconsin. This will be his last game. Obviously, it will be a very emotional game for him and his players. We hope to go in and play our best game and see what happens."

Kickoff time is noon CST Jan. 2nd in Orlando, Fla., at the Capital One Bowl in a rematch of bowl game the Tigers won 28-14 two years ago in Nashville.

"Offensively, they have a running back (Brian Calhoun, 319 carries for 1,423 yards) that can make a lot of plays," Tuberville says. "He is very similar to some of the guys we have played in our league.

Brian Calhoun has averaged 4.5 yards per carry for the Badgers.

"They have a big offensive line and very athletic wide receivers and a quarterback (John Stocco, 182-301 for 2,619 yards and 19 TDs) that has been around for a few years and he knows how to play," the Auburn coach adds. "They are very impressive offensively.

"Defensively, they have had a lot of injuries. There are not a lot of different things that we see on film that have changed since we played them in the Music City Bowl a few years ago. They have had some injuries. I am sure they will get a lot of those guys back, and they are a lot like us on defense during the year--kind of up and down. Some games you play well, some games you miss some of the guys that were out with injuries."

Auburn, which is 9-2 this season, hit the practice on Thursday for the first time since game week vs. Alabama as the Tigers closed the regular season on Nov. 19th with a 28-18 victory over Alabama. The Badgers last played on Nov. 25th and took a 41-24 victory at Hawaii to improve to 9-3.

"This bowl layoff time will help them as much as it will help us," Tuberville says. "It should be a good football game. We are going to attempt to go into the next few days and work with the younger guys a lot. We'll practice them and put in some of the game plan. Once we get to the bowl site, the day after Christmas, we'll go full steam and do most of the game plan and the things that we are going to do in the bowl vs. Wisconsin."

In Auburn's last trip to Orlando, the Tigers defeated Penn State of the Big 10 by a 13-9 margin at the end of the 2002 season. The Tigers are 6-2-2 all-time vs. teams from that conference.

Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco is passing for 218.2 yards per game this season.

Comparing the SEC and the Big 10, the home conference of Wisconsin, Tuberville says, "There is not a lot of difference. If you look at their league this year, they had some good teams, as we did. If you look down the line, their league was probably a little bit more offensive. That is a little different than what we saw the last time we played a Big 10 team in the Capital One Bowl in Penn State a few years ago.

"It's up and down," the coach adds. "Both conferences are very similar. They usually have bigger offensive linemen. We are used to seeing that. We played Michigan one year in the Citrus Bowl. They all looked like Marcus McNeil. Here, we have one guy like that. Wisconsin is the same. They have big offensive players that are very physical.

"They have a lot of speed," Tuberville says. "That is a misnomer that I have seen. The Big 10 has as much speed as anybody. Their wide receivers can run. Their running back is very quick. It is pretty similar to some of the teams we play in the league. They do some things different philosophy-wise on both sides. but player-wise it is going to be very similar."

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