Tuberville Likes the Numbers in Tuscaloosa

Comments from the Auburn postgame celebration are featured from head coach Tommy Tuberville.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville had plenty to celebrate on Saturday night.

He watched his Tigers win their 10th game of the season as well as their fifth straight Iron Bowl victory. However, another statistic is even more significant to the Tiger coach.

"Overall, 70 guys coming over here and playing their tails off in an environment like this is big," Tuberville said. "Everybody is going to ask about the five straight and I am excited about that. I am more excited about winning four straight here.

"Four straight on the road in your rival game is huge," Tuberville added. "I am proud of our seniors. This is the winningest senior class in Auburn history with 40 wins. I am so proud of them and they have never lost to their in-state rival. They can stick their chest out for a long, long time."

Auburn's 22-15 victory featured key performances from a variety of players. There was no one superstar for the Tigers and Tuberville said the team effort was encouraging to see.

"To bounce back from that last week (loss to Georgia) shows our program is solid," he said. "We are not great. We knew that going into the season, but we are getting better. I am so proud of the character and attitude of this team and what they have done and how they have done it."

Tuberville said for this year's Tigers to win 10 games with key offensive players Kenny Irons and Courtney Taylor plus others fighting through injuries all year "is a miraculous number."

Commenting on the victory before a hostile Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd, Tuberville said, "We came into the game to run and we did. We didn't have a lot of style points, but when you play defense, when you cause turnovers and the kicking game is solid then you have got a chance.

"That is the way we played all year long. We are not a great football team. We were put on a pedestal early in the year. We fought hard. We kept our head above water. In 12 games we stumbled twice. To win 10 games in this league is huge, any year.

"I am proud of our football players and how they hung with our coaches and understood what we needed to do and learn each week and just stay positive knowing that we weren't going to score a lot of points, but we were going to play well enough to possibly get a one or two-point victory.

"Alabama played tough," Tuberville added. "They played hard. They are well coached. They schemed us a little bit. They tricked us early on the first drive and had us a little confused. I made a stupid call on the blitz right before half (Tide touchdown pass to cut the Auburn lead to 14-9). We just took a chance and probably shouldn't have done that."

The Tigers came from behind in both the first half and the second half to defeat the Tide. He said the players and coaches stayed calm despite the frenzy of the Iron Bowl. "That is the great thing about this group. Nobody every panics."

"We played based defense, we played zone coverage," Tuberville noted. "We played very little man coverage. We were going to force them to make the plays. We just didn't think they could do it. We didn't think they could drive the length of the field and score.

"Sometimes you look around at each other when they do it the first drive, ‘Are we doing the right thing?' Will (defensive coordinator Will Muschamp) stayed with it and forced them to turn the ball over. We had some coverage sacks and coverage fumbles in the second quarter where he (Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson) had to pull the ball down, thinking we were going to be in man. Man wasn't there. We were in zone."

On the subject of man, a young one carrying the football for the Tigers won praise from the head coach. Brad Lester scored Auburn's first touchdown and came through with some key runs, even in the second half when he was playing on an injured knee.

"He gives us a change of pace," Tuberville said. "He has got a lot of burst. He has gained some weight. He is a lot stronger. He runs a lot like Kenny (Kenny Irons). He is going to be a heck of a back in this league. He is just a sophomore. He has a couple of years left. He is going to be our go-to guy next year. With Kenny being hurt, he has had to grow up a lot."


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