Busy Tigers Polish Game Plan

A report on the Auburn football Tigers is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football team practiced for two hours and 10 minutes on Wednesday polishing the game plan for Saturday night's game vs. New Mexico State.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said that freshman Kodi Burns and senior Brandon Cox shared the reps with the first team as the Tigers finished up under the lights following a workout in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts on a cool, crisp fall-like evening. The lineman, both offensive and defensive types, stayed late for extra drills.

"We spent more time on game plan and just going against the scout team on defense with the no huddle just to kind of get the tempo down offensively," Tuberville said. "Brandon and Kodi both are taking the same amount of reps and both are pretty much running the same offense.

"Centers are difficult changing quarterbacks," Tuberville noted. "You don't want a center/quarterback exchange problem. It is working good. Is no different than what we normally do. You always work two quarterbacks in the offense.

"We worked a lot more on the kicking game today, too," Tuberville said. "We have got to get a lot better in the kicking game. This is a big challenge this week on some of the things they do."

Redshirt freshman Neil Caudle directed the scout team, which simulated the offense run by New Mexico State. 'We are trying to prepare for this no-huddle offense that they run in a short period of time, which is pretty difficult.," Tuberville said.

"I think they are excited about playing a different offense this week," Tuberville said of the Auburn defense. "Offensively, they are just looking forward to try to improve on what we have done.

"It was a good practice," Tuberville added. "We are trying to get their legs back a little bit. We didn't run...Especially defensively we have to make sure they are fresh because they are going to go a lot of snaps Saturday night."

Robert Dunn, a junior wide receiver, said he wants to get back on the field as soon as possible and end his team's two-game losing streak as the Tigers face the Aggies for only the second time in school history. The Tigers won 55-14 in 1993.

"Right now we are working on chemistry and execution," said Dunn. "We have got a lot of inexperienced players on offense. Our coaches are getting them a lot of playing time. They are gaining game experience as we go along.

"We are going through some growing pains right now," Dunn added. "I feel like we have the chemistry of this team together now. It is time for us to come out this week and execute plays."

In other news:

*Linebacker Tray Blackmon practiced, but is listed as "doubtful" by Tuberville, who said that linebacker Merrill Johnson (shoulder) is not expected back until next week's road trip to Florida.

*The head coach said offensive guard Mike Berry (shoulder) was full speed and that punter Ryan Shoemaker (dislocated elbow) practiced on Wednesday, but will probably not play this week. Patrick Tatum is scheduled to start for a second straight game as the punter.

Wes Byrum

*Cornerback Jonathan Wilhite (hamstring) is 100 percent this week, said Tuberville, who added that Wes Byrum (ankle) might be cleared to kick off this week. "He has got a chance," the coach said. "We need that leg out there."

*The Tigers had a nine-game winning streak in the month of September prior to losing 26-23 in overtime to South Florida in game two. In the Tuberville Era, the Tigers are 29-7 in September games.

Kickoff for this week's New Mexico State at Auburn game is set for 6 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium. The only TV coverage is pay per view. Fans can contact their local cable provider for details on how to order it. Direct TV and Dish Network will have the games available and C-band dish owners in the state of Alabama can call 1-800-TV-STARS to order the telecast. In the state of New Mexico, it is available as part of the Aggie Vision network on cable systems in the Land of Enchantment.

*While New Mexico State is known for its high-powered offense, its defense is coming off a solid performance last Saturday night when it held the UTEP Miners to 13 first downs. UTEP averaged just 2.7 yards on 29 rushing attempts and netted 345 total yards to 547 for the Aggies, who won 29-24 before a home crowd of 30,343 fans in Las Cruces. Wide receiver Chris Williams had a huge night, catching nine passes for 221 yards for the home team.

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