Coaches Pleased With Wednesday Workout

After a tiring Tuesday in which the team practiced and had meetings after arriving home at 7 a.m., they got back in a normal routine on Wednesday and responded with what defensive coordinator Gene Chizik described as a good practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Working in full pads for more than two hours, the Auburn football team focused on correcting its mistakes from Monday night's USC game while preparing for game two vs. Western Carolina.

Tommy Tuberville and his coordinators said they liked the workout as the Tigers had a physical practice in their first full day of preparations for a Western Carolina team that comes to town with a 1-0 record following a 23-3 road victory in Virginia vs. Liberty University.

Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said he liked what he saw at the Wednesday workout, which finished up under the lights.

"I wasn't surprised," Chizik said of the team having a good practice although it was still tired from the West Coast trip. "I really thought they would do that. I just thought by the effort that they gave in that game and as focused as they were for that game that they have too much to them right now.

"Even as tired as they are they have too much about them to not come out and work and get ready to play again. That's one reason I think we're going to be successful. That's one reason we're going to get better every week."

Offensively, the team continued to work on correcting the mistakes that cost the Tigers dearly in the second half on Monday. Working with quarterback Daniel Cobb on making better decisions in both the running and passing game, offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino said the unit had a good day of practice and predicts the unit will improve as the season progresses.

"They came back yesterday and ran very hard," Petrino said of the offense. "They came out today and they practiced hard. I like our players. I think they are a good group of kids. I think they have a lot of pride. They are hurt a little bit, just like everyone else is. But I like the way they reacted. We're going to be good, it's just a matter of when. Hopefully, it's sooner rather than later."

The injury situation is much better for the Tigers after the first game than in seasons' past with just Ben Nowland considered highly questionable for Saturday's game. The senior center suffered a sprained knee and ankle on Monday and wasn't practicing Wednesday, but should be close to full speed by game time on Saturday and it will likely be a coaches' decision on whether he plays or not.

Tailback Carnell Williams was back on the practice field and he said following the practice that he felt fine and was suffering from no ill effects due to cramping on Monday. He also said his knee felt fine and a slightly sprained ankle that bothered him through two-a-days was coming along nicely.

Defensive end Reggie Torbor was also held out of Wednesday's practice to give his ankle an extra day to recover and be ready for Saturday. Torbor says that he will be ready to play on Saturday.

Dontarrious Thomas says the same thing as he tries to recover from a hyper-extended knee that kept him out of practice on Wednesday. He is also expected to watch the Thursday workout.

Strong safety Junior Rosegreen waits for the action during Monday's game at USC.

One player who is always anxious to get the game under way is sophomore strong safety Junior Rosegreen. A key component to Auburn's defensive plans this season, the former cornerback had a big game Monday night against USC with an interception, a forced fumble and five tackles. Coming off a disappointing loss, Rosegreen said the defense has plenty of room for improvement this week against Western Carolina.

"We did alright," Rosegreen said. "We could have done a whole lot better, but I just felt like they weren't better than us. They were just a better team than us on that night. We made too many mistakes and they still had a hard time with us. I think if we wouldn't have made those mistakes it would have come out better on the other side."

With two fewer days to prepare for the Catamounts, the danger for Auburn is that the Tigers will overlook the Division I-AA foe with the SEC schedule beginning the next week. However, Rosegreen said there is no way the Tigers will look past anyone if he can help it.

"I'm kind of sore right now, but I can get up and any of the players can get up to play a football at any given time," Rosegreen said. "It's not that we just came from a tough game and can't get up for another game. We're just going to go back to the drawing board and see where we made mistakes and then polish up on our mistakes."

The Tigers will continue working towards Saturday's 4 p.m. kickoff with a practice on Thursday. A special Tiger Walk is planned as well this weekend with Robbie Williams (34), Gerald Williams (98) and Billy Hitchcock (24) the guests of honor. Robbie Williams is the son of former Tiger Walk director Tommy Williams, who passed away last winter after battling a long illness. Hitchcock is one of the most revered Auburn athletes in history as both a football and baseball player and later became the manager of the Atlanta Braves. Gerald Williams was a star defensive lineman for the Tigers in the mid-1980s before a long NFL career. The normal route down Donahue Drive will begin at approximately 1:50 p.m. and end in the South end zone entrance to Jordan-Hare Stadium at the Tiger Walk Plaza.


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