Sunday Football Notes II

News, notes and quotes from Tommy Tuberville's Sunday teleconference.

Players of the Game:
Offense:
Rod Smith
Defense: Sen'Derrick Marks and Jerraud Powers
Special Teams: Wes Byrum
Scout Team Offense: Quindarius Carr
Scout Team Defense: Josh Bynes

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Injury News: Senior defensive end Quentin Groves dislocated three toes near the end of the third quarter and did not return to action. Tristan Davis made his season debut and returned to kickoffs for 38, but suffered an injury to the same foot he had surgery on in mid-August. Tray Blackmon (ankle) hadn't seen the game action since the first half of the Kansas State game. He split time at middle linebacker with Chris Evans.

"We've continued to mount up injuries," Tuberville says. "We won't know a lot until probably tomorrow (Monday) after some of them settle down. Quentin Groves is going to have another X-Ray (on Monday). I can't tell you a lot about him. Tray Blackmon is still hobbling around. He played some plays and wasn't very productive because of his ankle. Hopefully he gets better and better. Tristan Davis is out. He'll have a pin put in his foot (Monday). He's out indefinitely. I don't know a lot about that. We'll have to wait until after the surgery."

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Ben Tate carried 20 times for 65 yards and had Auburn's second quarter touchdown that put the Tigers up 14-0. Mario Fannin had 13 rushes for 62 yards. For the first time since the 22-15 victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Brad Lester will be available on Saturday against Vanderbilt.

"He's been working every day," Tuberville says of Lester. "Ben Tate and Mario Fannin have been getting about 75 percent, and he's been getting about 25 percent. We won't have to work in timing issues and those things. Plus, he's run a lot of contact stuff when we didn't want the two guys that were going to play banged up. He ran with the first team in live contact drills. Brad will be ready to go. He's looking forward to it and it's been a long six weeks for him and he's excited about playing."

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Kodi Burns started at quarterback for the New Mexico State game last Saturday, but Brandon Cox returned to his role as the starter against the Gators. Cox is now 8-0 as the starter in Auburn's road white jerseys after throwing for 227 yards without a turnover. Burns did not throw a pass, but he ran three times for five yards and a touchdown on the Tigers' opening drive of the game.

"We were going to use him a little more last night," Tuberville notes of Burns, "but we got into a rhythm. We found something in the passing game where it opened up the running game a little bit. That's not a great situation to put Kodi into, just running him and running certain plays. I thought he did a good job on the goal line on the touchdown run. We had a couple of other things in there like putting him at wide receiver. We'll continue to do things like that. Brandon is obviously getting better learning his players, but we still have to get Kodi the ball some. We have to get it in his hands and give him the opportunity to make big plays for us. He'll continue to be a big part of our offense. Some games it will be very little, some will be a lot."

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Rallying from a 17-3 deficit to start the fourth quarter, Florida scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to tie the game at 17-17. Then the Gators forced and Auburn punt and the Tigers got called for a 15-yard kick catch interference penalty. Tuberville didn't agree with the call, stormed onto the field, threw his head set and caused a scene. The officials threw a flag, but gave Auburn only a sideline warning.

"I think you've got to do what is right for your team, especially in a situation like that where I knew the defense was going to have to go out and make plays," he explains. "I wanted them to feel like we were having to fight the world. I thought I was right to begin with, but I knew I wasn't going to change their (officials) mind. I just wanted to make a point where our defense knew we were standing up for them. Whether it helped or not, I don't know, but it helped my feelings a little bit. I felt a lot better about it and I was a lot more calm during that last series because I had given it out screaming and yelling. It was one of those things where I felt like I needed to make a point and stand up for our coverage team. I thought our guys did the right thing. You don't have the halo rule anymore, but they saw it a different way. Fortunately I got off the field in time to not get a 15-yard penalty."

The Auburn defense forced a three-and-out that set up the game-winning field goal drive.


Toomer's Corner was quite a scene following the thrilling victory and was still covered in toilet paper Sunday morning.

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From the AP Poll, Florida was just one of five top 10 teams to fall victim of the upset on Friday and Saturday--No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Florida, No. 5 West Virginia, No. 7 Texas and No. 10 Rutgers. Two of Auburn's previous opponents, South Florida and Kansas State, also beat top 10 teams--West Virginia and Texas, respectively.

South Florida jumped to No. 6 six nationally and Kansas State entered the poll at 24th. Auburn is not ranked, but received the 29th most votes.

"Before we played those first two teams I told everybody that those would be top 25 teams and they would win a lot of games. It wasn't a secret that Kansas State was going to be a good team and South Florida was going to be a real good team. We don't dwell on it. We had our shots against South Florida and didn't get it done. Florida could say the same thing last night. They had their shots and they didn't get it done. I'm glad to see Kansas State winning games and South Florida winning because I like both head coaches and I think they're doing it the right way, but still you can't worry about spilled milk."

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"It was a huge win for our football team," Tuberville says. "We made some positive headway towards becoming a better team. I'm really proud of Brandon Cox and how he handled a tough environment. We've just got to keep on keeping on."

Click here for Sunday Football Notes I.


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