Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers (9-2) put the finishing touches on the week for Alabama with a practice that lasted for an hour and a half Thursday morning. Dealing with a week filled with weather problems coach Tommy Tuberville says it's not what he wanted heading into the Iron Bowl but his team handled things well.
"It was not as good of a week of practice with the tempo because of the distraction of the weather," Tuberville says. "It was pretty rough. We had to separate the offense and defense for a couple of days. The rain has affected us but it has been a good mental week of practice. The guys have been into it. I just would have liked to have a little more continuity. You can't do anything about the weather.
"We finished up good today," he adds. "The guys bounced around for several reasons. One you're playing your rival team and two they get to go home for a week. It's that time of year. It has been a long season. We're looking forward to the game. It should be a good one. We're looking forward to a big challenge because we know that's exactly what it's going to be."
Auburn comes into the game pretty healthy considering the Iron Bowl will be the 12th consecutive game week for the Tigers. Only tight end Cole Bennett is out for this week's game now that safety Eric Brock has returned to practice. Tuberville says the junior looked good this week and should be ready to go against Alabama but defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is not as optimistic that will be the case.
"He looked good and ran around good," Tuberville says. "He's just sore a little bit. He was breaking on the ball and making plays. He's bounced back a little quicker than we thought. He's not going to be able to play every snap but we would like for him to play at least half the game.
"We've got probably half a dozen and maybe more than half a dozen guys beat up but so has everybody else this time of year," he adds. "But when you're playing your rival team at the end everybody forgets about those. They are a little more focused and looking forward to playing. There's not another game for six weeks. It has been a good week because of that. We wish we would have had better weather but we can't control that."
Sophomore Tristan Davis is expected to get the start at safety for the Tigers.
While Tuberville is optimistic Muschamp says that while there's still two full days before game time he's not sure Brock is going to be ready. For that reason Tristan Davis will go into Saturday's game as the starter opposite Aairon Savage at safety. Brock could see some action at safety in the game along with Jerraud Powers and also Lorenzo Ferguson.
With the practice time limited on the field because of the weather this week the team has instead spent more time in meetings and watching film of Alabama. Tuberville says that's something they normally do this time of year anyway but this week has been more than normal because of the conditions.
"We've only been going out a little over an hour on the field so we've doubled up the meeting time," Tuberville says. "Yesterday the defense was out there a little longer and the offense went outside a little bit longer because we've just got part of an indoor. The offense needs to throw a dry ball. I didn't want them throwing a wet ball all week long. We tried to keep them inside as much as we could. The defense got a little wetter and a little colder."
The weather is expected to be beautiful in Tuscaloosa Saturday for the annual Iron Bowl showdown between Auburn and Alabama. The Tigers will head out of Auburn Friday afternoon and stay on the road to Tuscaloosa before heading to the stadium Saturday for the game. Tuberville says it's always a fun ride to Bryant-Denny Stadium on game day because you can feel the atmosphere.
"We'll leave tomorrow and go to the hotel halfway between here and Tuscaloosa," Tuberville says. "We do the same thing every year. We leave here a little bit later than we normally do because it's a short distance. We get up Saturday morning. It's about an hour and a half ride over for the game. It's pretty interesting going to Tuscaloosa as I'm sure it is for them coming here. When you make that ride the policemen basically have to part the red sea because there are cars trying to get into the stadium. The last 25 miles are pretty interesting."