Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers wrapped up the on-campus portion of practices for the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Thursday with a one-hour practice in shorts and shoulder pads focusing on the gameplan for Nebraska. Coach Tommy Tuberville says the work put in by the team the last week has gone well and he's happy with where the team is heading into the Christmas break.
"It was the last day for the seniors out here," Tuberville says. "We're proud of them and what they've done. We're looking forward to now spending a few fun days in Dallas but we're going on a mission. This is going to be a business trip. We're going to play well and make up for a few things we didn't do this year."
The winningest group of seniors in Auburn history had their final practice on campus Thursday as Kody Bliss, Chris Browder, Matt Clark, Joe Cope, Karibi Dede, Tim Duckworth, Ben Grubbs, Lee Guess, Marquies Gunn, Brant Haynie, Will Herring, David Irons, Kenny Irons, Patrick Martyn, Jonathan Palmer, Pete Ruzicka, Tre Smith, Courtney Taylor and John Vaughn prepare to close out their careers in style with a win over Nebraska. Duckworth says that while practices have gone well the team has to carry that over into the game for it to matter.
"We're ready to have a good game but at the same time we've got to have that want-to as well as the will," Duckworth says. "We can go out there all day and say we're going to do this and do that but if we don't come to play it doesn't mean a hill of beans. We've just got to go out there and take every play one play at a time. We just have to show them what Auburn football is all about."
As is always the case the players celebrated the last practice for the seniors in different ways. The defensive backs carried Irons and Haynie off the field on their shoulders while Terry Price took a tumble at the hands of Gunn and Browder. Both Herring and Dede took down linebacker coach James Willis but both left the field saying they couldn't have done it alone.
David Irons is carried off the field by the defensive backs.
With several players still bothered by a flu bug the team didn't have a very physical final practice on Thursday and that's the norm before the break. Tuberville says that the health of the team is good and he's especially encouraged by the work put in by Brandon Cox, Kenny Irons and Courtney Taylor on offense.
"They are fine," Tuberville says. "They are ready to go. We didn't do much with them today but they'll be ready to go full speed."
Duckworth and the offensive line pose for a picture in their homemade jerseys.
The Tigers will resume practices in Dallas on Dec. 27th with the game scheduled for New Year's Day at 10:40 a.m. Duckworth says when they get on the field it's going to be a special time for all the seniors but for him the chance to line up with his fellow offensive linemen one last time is something he'll never forget.
"I have been playing with those guys since I've been here," Duckworth says. "I know me and J.P. and Ben and King (Dunlap) have been on the extra point since we've been here. We finally got to play together. That means a whole lot to us. The last thing I want to do is make sure we get a win. I'll never play with those guys again and I want to do the best I can."