Tigers Looking for Playmakers

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville said on Sunday after watching video of Auburn's first loss of the season that his team needs more guys on both sides of the football to step up as playmakers.

After six games, the Tigers have forced an average of just one turnover per outing with three recovered fumbles and three interceptions.

"We are not creating turnovers and playmakers create turnovers," he said. "We talked about that today. You have got to strip the ball and cause fumbles. We had a couple of interceptions."

The coach pointed out a dropped would-be interception by safety Eric Brock as a missed opportunity in Saturday's loss to the Razorbacks. "We were just that close to intercepting it and having a chance to go in and go up," the coach noted. "Playmakers make plays. We talk to them all the time about that."

Offensively, the Tigers had six plays of 20 yards or longer in the opener vs. Washington State, but have had only 17 since then. The only two vs. Arkansas were a 23-yard touchdown pass to Rodgeriqus Smith and a 21-yard pass to Smith.

"On offense we are looking for somebody to step up and make a play from 50 yards out or 40 yards out," Tuberville says. "Everything to us comes hard. Courtney (Taylor) had a couple of chances yesterday. Even he will tell you he didn't make the play. He misjudged one ball and the other one he dropped."

Tuberville said that making big plays and working as a smoothly functioning unit on both offense and defense will be points of emphasis at practice this week as the Tigers prepare for No. 2 and No. 3 ranked Florida. The Gators are 6-0 after defeating LSU on Saturday.

"We don't have a lot of stars on this team," Tuberville said. "That is the reason we have to play as a team. We have to be good at running the ball, blocking. Everybody has got to be consistent.

"We have got a lot of young guys who are playing," the coach added. "They have got to make a better effort. We are starting two new tight ends who got a lesson yesterday in attack defense. You have got to be more aggressive sometimes. I think a lot of the younger guys are feeling that. If you are going to be a playmaker and step up in this offense and defense, sometimes you have got to step forward and we haven't had enough of that. We have had some, but not enough."

Tuberville said on Sunday that he believes his team played hard in the 27-10 loss to Arkansas that dropped the Tigers to 10th and 11th in major polls this week.

"We are just looking for the right combinations," he said. "We will put it together. We have got to have some things happen for us that happen a little easier. Everything for us now is kind of like pulling teeth."

One of Auburn's better playmakers through six games, tailback Brad Lester, suffered a leg injury and is questionable for this week's game, Tuberville said. He also noted that Jason Bosley is expected to make his second straight start at center in place of injured Joe Cope. Bosley started and shared playing time with Jonathan Palmer, who started at right tackle vs. Arkansas.


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