Tigers Make Final Preparations For Road Trip

Tommy Tuberville talks about his Auburn football team as the Tigers prepare for the season opener against the USC Trojans.

Auburn, Ala.--The Tigers put on the pads for the final time before the 2002 football season opener with a 90-minute workout on Friday evening at the football complex.

Tommy Tuberville cancelled the planned rehearsal at the stadium and instead the Tigers polished the offensive and defensive game plans, worked on the kicking game and the players participated in positional meetings to go over assignments for Monday's game that will be televised by ABC (7 p.m. CDT) from the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The Tigers will have a short workout on Saturday morning in Auburn before catching their Delta Airlines charter flight for the West Coast.

Tuberville says that all 75 players on the travel squad will have a chance to play in the game. "It is too far a trip to take people we know will not have an opportunity to play," the coach says. "Whether they will all play, I don't know, but they will have an opportunity to play."

Freshman wide receiver Montae Pitts is shown during Friday's workout at the Auburn football complex.

The Tigers will be counting on some true freshmen in key roles such as wide receivers Ben Obomanu, Montae Pitts, Devin Aromashodu and Courtney Taylor and defensive linemen T.J. Jackson and Ben Grubbs. Tuberville says he thinks the newcomers will give a good accounting of themselves even though it is a nationally televised game.

"I don't think the true freshmen will be that nervous," he says. "Initially, everybody is nervous the first game, but when you get hit once or twice and block somebody I think it kind of gets out of your mind."

Linebackers Donatarrious Thomas and Mark Brown will be counted on heavily to come up with big plays for the Tigers on Monday night. The two are shown at Friday's practice.

Tuberville says that starting quarterback Daniel Cobb has done a good job in practice the past two weeks after being announced as the starter ahead of Jason Campbell. "He has done well and the players have worked with him--that is the main thing," Tuberville says. "He just needs to get his confidence, run the offense, get out there and get going and learn as we go. We will get better every snap in this offense. The first time out is kind of scary knowing we are going out there with a new offense and new defense for the first time."

Tiger Ticket Extra: There will be one walk-on in the starting lineup when the Tigers face the Trojans. On Friday evening, senior Ryan Hockett was running plays with the first team offense at tight guard. Marcus McNeill, the big and talented true freshman, is running No. 2 at the position...The Tigers are scheduled to leave Auburn at 1 p.m. on Saturday via bus for the Montgomery airport where they will catch a chartered flight to Los Angeles. The Tigers are using a large jet, a Boeing 767, to have room to carry a traveling party of approximately 275, including 75 players. Normally, the team's equipment is taken by truck to the games, but because of the distance involved the shoulder pads, helmets and everything else needed to play a football game is being flown to California with the team. The Tigers are scheduled to have a very light workout on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum with the main emphasis to allow the players to get loosened up after the cross country flight. The session will also enable Damon Duval to get a read on the field for kicking purposes and the receivers and quarterbacks can check out the lighting and the field conditions...The players will be able to watch two movies on their trip to California--Lord of the Rings and When We Were Soldiers.

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