Auburn, Ala.--With a fifth consecutive victory over Alabama in the books the Tigers will get a well deserved break this week to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends and family. Before that happens though Coach Tommy Tuberville takes a look back at Saturday's 22-15 victory over the Crimson Tide.
In a week that could have turned out disastrous with the injury to Courtney Taylor on Wednesday that eventually kept him out of Saturday's game, Tuberville says the offense and in particular the offensive line deserves a ton of credit for what they did Saturday against an Alabama defense determined to stop the running game.
"It's a good day," Tuberville says. "It was a great atmosphere over in Tuscaloosa. Our guys played hard and so did Alabama's. We were fortunate to win the game. After looking at the film I was pretty impressed with our offensive line and how we played and how physical we played. We asked them to do some things sometimes that was almost impossible to do and that was block more people than we had blockers. Sometimes running backs just ran into linebackers that we didn't have anybody to block. They did a good job of running hard and running physical. That's what it took to win the game."
In Iron Bowl history it usually holds true that the team that runs the ball better wins the football game. Saturday that was once again the case as Auburn did a little better job on the ground than Alabama and for the 18th time in the last 20 years that amounted to a victory. Tuberville says that was Auburn's plan once Taylor went down.
"We were going to be a little bit more open with our offense until Wednesday when Courtney got hurt," Tuberville says. "After that we just decided that running the ball was going to be our main emphasis and best opportunity to win the game. Our offense did a good job of that and controlling the ball. It wasn't a perfect offensive game but it was one that got enough points on the board to win and we took advantage of turnovers."
The guy running the show for the Auburn offense was once again Brandon Cox. Coming off a terrible game against Georgia when he threw four interceptions in the loss, Cox didn't get off to a good start against the Crimson Tide either but kept the mistakes to a minimum. That proved to be huge as Auburn took advantage of Alabama turnovers and gave Cox a chance to step up and win the game in the second half with several big-time throws on Auburn's game winning drive.
"Brandon Cox didn't play very well in the first half," Tuberville says. "He was a little nervous. That game is very important to him and you could tell he was trying to do a little bit more than what he was asked to do. In the second half he settled down. I thought Al did a good job of calming him down and making him understand what he had to do. He was a little bit more level headed in the second half."
Coming back from the disappointment of the Georgia game was something Tuberville says he wasn't sure how his team would do until later in the week. Led by Taylor and fellow seniors Joe Cope, Tim Duckworth, Ben Grubbs and others, the Auburn offense answered the call when it mattered most on Saturday. Tuberville says the seniors carried the team this week because losing to Alabama is something they didn't want to happen in their final year. Now that is something next year's senior class has to worry about because five in a row means bragging rights for a lifetime, not something many Auburn football players can say.
"You never really know because of the excitement of the Georgia week and the Alabama week running back to back," Tuberville says. "The enthusiasm is really there. You've got to lean on your seniors, win or lose that Georgia game, going into the rivalry game that Alabama is. You've got to lean on your seniors and everybody's got to be on the same page. I didn't feel as good as I wanted to after Sunday because I felt the lingering effects on the guys knowing we got beat pretty good. They recovered and it all starts with the seniors on the team."