Auburn Coach Praises 6-5 Tide

Auburn, Ala.--Although the won/loss percentage isn't very good for Alabama, Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville says the Crimson Tide is a dangerous opponent.

The 9-2 Tigers and Tide will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa with Auburn shooting for a fifth straight victory in the intra-state showdown.

"Alabama has got a great football team and they have been on the short end of a lot of games they should have won," Tuberville says. "We have been fortunate to have been on the other side of those games this year, and sometimes it goes like that. It's an old cliché, but you throw all of that out. This is just another Iron Bowl between two good teams that have a lot of family and friends on either side."

Tuberville contends the Tigers vs. Tide rivalry is special. "It's amazing what this game has done for the state of Alabama, the SEC and college football over the years," he says. "There have been some great moments and it really has established what college football and rivalries are about. I am excited that over the last seven years I have been a part of it. It really is fun for the coaches and for the players.

"A lot of people think that there is a lot of pressure, but there really isn't because of the fact you know your guys are going to be ready to play. You put in a game plan, and you try to have fun with it. That's what it is all about.

"It is a fierce rivalry, probably more between the fans than it is the players and coaches, because it is at the end of the year. You are excited that you finally get to play the game and it also is the last game for a while. The guys can then take some time off; it is a long season. This kind of brings back the juices, so to speak, of a long season.

"Both teams had 12 straight games and the players and coaches are mentally and physically tired. This gets everybody back on their feet and really excited about another college football game in a great atmosphere."

Auburn jumped on the Tide early last season and coasted to a 28-18 win in Auburn. Tuberville says he is expecting a tougher challenge this year.

"Our football team right now is coming off of a loss," he says. "Again, sometimes you just shake your head and wonder what happened, even after you look at the film. We had great practices last week and we were playing at home and had a lot to play for. We just didn't get it done. They (Alabama) were on the road, playing against one of their rival teams (LSU) and I was impressed with how they played, because I know how tough it is to play down there at night.

"They lost the week before, and they regrouped and challenged and came up short. They played very well and very hard. I thought it was one of their better games of the year so now we will meet and decide who the best team is between us.

"Their offense is new because they have a new quarterback (John Parker Wilson) who is more athletic than the one (Brodie Croyle) they have had the last few years. He has done a good job of learning the offense, moving the ball, throwing the ball down the field making plays. They have thrown the ball more this year than they have in the past and they have had success, even though they have been struggling with a new quarterback all year long.

Tide QB John Parker Wilson is the Alabama's top offensive threat this season.

"Their defense has a lot of new faces. We looked at last year's film and they had a great defense. Coach Kines (defensive coordinator Joe Kines) has done a marvelous job of replacing a lot of those guys who went on to the NFL and the seniors with new faces that are really playing well and playing consistent. They should be commended for that.

"It's going to be a hard fought game," Tuberville predicts. "Both teams have some guys beat up. You never know who is going to play in this game until you get there on Saturday. We are excited; it's going to be a good challenge for us coming off of a defeat last week. We are going to find out a little bit more about our team as we go through the week and as we get to the game on Saturday. It should be a fun game for fans, players and coaches."


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