Tigers Practicing Well Despite Layoff

Coaches Tommy Tuberville and Al Borges talk about Friday's practice and how the Tigers are doing on the field.

Auburn, Ala.—-With the rainy weather gone from the Auburn area, the Tigers got back to work in preparation for the Wisconsin Badgers with a two-hour practice in full pads on Friday. Coach Tommy Tuberville says it was easy to tell that the Tigers had a practice under their belts because the day was much better than day one on Thursday.

"It was a good day and we had a good practice," Tuberville says. "We're not doing too much against Wisconsin yet. We're doing a lot more against each other. We're starting to add a little bit as we go. Everybody is practicing full speed and everybody looks like they're ready to rock."

With running backs Carl Stewart and Brad Lester back practicing the coaches decided to move speedster Tristan Davis back to safety where he will likely play next season. The move was made to give him a leg up on spring practice and a shot to get into the rotation next year.

"Tristan Davis is back at safety," Tuberville says. "We felt like using these 12-14 practices that we'll get gives him an extra spring practice. It's an opportunity to work his way into knowing a little bit more about what we're doing. It gives us a jump on spring practice. With Brad Lester back and Carl Stewart back we didn't want to put him back there being the fourth-team tailback. There's no doubt he can be a good running back, but we think next year he's got an opportunity to be a first or second team safety."

The time off has been good for the most part as the team has come back quicker and fresher than when they finished the season. The only downside is that for a quarterback like Brandon Cox the increased throwing tires out an arm quickly. Offensive coordinator Al Borges says that Cox has been a little sore early on, but other than that everything has been going great with the practices.

"It loosened up pretty good and then he really felt good," Borges says. "The thing about practice is that there are so many balls that are thrown. He threw every day we were off, but when you go out to practice there's a lot more intense throwing.

"Practice overall, I have been pleasantly surprised," he adds. "Things have been going well so far in light of the fact that we did have such a long time between practices."

Cooper Wallace and Anthony Mix work on punt protection during Friday's practice.

One thing the coaches will spend a lot of time on this week is special teams and in particular the punt teams. Friday that was the focus of the first part of practice with coach Eddie Gran working on things they're likely to see from Wisconsin. Also freshman Robert Dunn was getting the bulk of the work returning punts so don't be surprised if he gets a shot to do something against the Badgers.

On a positive note the Tigers had three players graduate on Friday, bringing the total number from the senior class to 12 as Auburn prepares to face Wisconsin. Offensive tackle Troy Reddick, defensive tackle Wayne Dickens and defensive back Kevin Hobbs all received their degrees on Friday. Also former Tigers Andrew Letts, Taylor Bourgeois and Rhett Autry graduated as well. Tuberville says the day is a happy one for the players and the Auburn football program.

"I'm proud of those guys. It's a good day for them and their families," Tuberville says. "That's what they come here for. We're excited about them getting their degrees, now we'll focus on the bowl game. Those guys did miss practice today, but they will be back tomorrow."

The Tigers will practice Saturday morning and take Sunday off before returning to work on Monday. They will practice Monday-Wednesday before going home for Christmas break. Auburn's coaches will be in Orlando for Christmas and the team is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 26 to resume practices for the Capital One Bowl to be played on Jan. 2 at noon on ABC.

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