Monday was one of those as what is normally an off day for the Tigers saw the team practice late into the night to accommodate players with class conflicts. Coach Tommy Tuberville says that the schedule couldn't be helped, but in the end it worked out for the best.
"We went through a little team and a little kicking game," Tuberville says. "We had a lot of people late, but you have to go to class first. We had a bunch of stragglers come in, but we had a good practice. It was different, but it was good catching balls and punts and all that kind of stuff.
"It's good to have a night practice," he adds. "We have played one night game, but our guys are excited about this game. There is a lot of enthusiasm. They are used to these late nights. We'll come back in the morning and get the plan in for the Ole Ball Coach (South Carolina's Steve Spurrier)."
Coach James Willis talks to his linebackers as the Tigers stretch to prepare for the night practice.
There was only one minor injury to report as redshirt freshman defensive end Antonio Coleman strained his elbow late in the two-hour workout. Tuberville says that Coleman should be fine for the game along with several of the Tigers who have been banged up in recent weeks. That includes quarterback Brandon Cox, running back Kenny Irons, linebacker Karibi Dede and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. All practiced and will be at or close to full speed for the game.
There is little doubt this short week will be spent looking for ways to get more production offensively out of a unit that is scoring 29.8 points per game, but averaging just 367 yards of total offense. That is down from last season prompting many to wonder what is wrong with Al Borges' troops. Tuberville says he believes it's just a matter of the playbook needing to be expanded. This could be the week it happens, but Tuberville notes that depends on the flow of the game Thursday night.
"We are going to have to open it up," he says. "We have to do more things. We work on them in practice. When things work you try to stick with them, but since two-a-days and spring practice we have gotten a lot more offense than what we've shown. As we go through the season, it will be used. Some of it will probably be used this game. We are excited about what we've done and we know it pretty well because we have been doing it so long. We just haven't done it in games.
"I think this could be one of those games where we do some more things, whether it's formations or throwing the ball or gadget plays, which we haven't run," he adds. "You have to go into a game and kind of feel your way around for a while and see what you think and as you go into it, you always keep options open. If you need them you need them, and if you don't, you don't."
It was football by moonlight for the Tigers on Monday as the practice lasted until around 9:30 p.m.
Auburn will have a final practice for the week on Tuesday morning before heading to South Carolina on Wednesday. The kickoff for Thursday night's game is scheduled for 6:37 p.m. CDT and the game can be seen nationally television with ESPN handling the coverage. This is Auburn's first trip to Columbia for a game since 1997 and just the third football game matching the two schools since 1934.