Tuberville Not Pleased With Tuesday Practice

A report on the Auburn football team is featured with comments from Tommy Tuberville, Sen'Derrick Marks and Brandon Cox.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville made it clear on Tuesday he wasn't pleased with his team's second practice of the week as his Tigers prepare for their third SEC game of the year as Vanderbilt comes to town on Saturday.

The Tigers worked out for two hours and 15 minutes as they installed the game plan for Saturday's 11:30 a.m. home test vs. a 3-1 Vanderbilt team.

"I am sure they are fired up about playing us after watching a couple of our films," said Tuberville, who can reach the 100-victory mark as a head coach with a victory vs. the Commodores. Steve Spurrier, Phillip Fulmer, Rich Brooks and Houston Nutt are the other SEC head football coaches with 100 wins. Only Spurrier and Fulmer have 100 as SEC coaches.

"The challenge in front of us is trying to get over that game on Saturday," Tuberville said. "One of the biggest things you have to do in sports, in terms of challenges, is when you have something good happen to you can you jump back, bounce back, be hungry, try to make things happen, try to get better, and overcome that win, improve and get better and play as good the next week. So we challenged our players.

"Today we didn't have a great practice so we did a few extra things to make sure we got their attention because sometimes you tend to think of things that happened 72 hours ago, or more than that, other than what you are doing to today or are going to do tomorrow and maybe what you are going to do in the future."

The Tigers are 3-2 overall after back to back wins vs. New Mexico State and Florida. Auburn is 1-1 in the SEC going to this week's conference contest.

Quarterback Brandon Cox, who had his best game of the year against Florida, said he believes the team is ready to focus on playing the Commodores. "We had a real physical practice today. Coaches were making sure our minds are on Vanderbilt."

Tuberville said that the Commodores look like a team that is playing with a lot of confidence, but said the focus for his team this week is on getting better. "The thing we have got to do is just go out and practice and just worry about ourselves, and not worry about anybody else," Tuberville said. "That has been what we have been trying to do all year long.

"We have got a lot of room for improvement. We didn't play a great game Saturday. We played a good game. If we played a great game, that thing wouldn't have come down to a field goal.

"We didn't come out the second half as hungry or as intense as we should have and put the finishing touches on a great first half. We kind of went through the motions and gave opportunities up and didn't take advantage of our opportunities and turned that thing into a ball game at the end. We don't have that instinct yet that we need to finish off. Finish has been one of our words all year long and sooner or later we are going to try to do that and be able to do that."

Auburn's coach said he is concerned that the Tigers are far from a healthy team going into game six. "We have persevered," he said. "Our coaches have done a good job of getting younger players ready to play, but it is getting to the point now where it is getting pretty serious with all of the injuries, guys that are out, half speed, three-quarters speed not able to practice. It is hard to improve when you don't have guys out there in practice.

"We don't have the depth we had earlier in the year. You looked out Saturday night on their last drive, when our defense went on the field, half of our team was second teamers that stopped them and got the ball back for our offense. That is good, but that means a lot of those second-teamers are going to be starters. Who is going to be behind them? Nobody, because we don't have the depth so it is getting to the point in our season where we are going to have to have a little luck in terms of injuries getting guys back on the field so we can have the ability to get better.

"A few guys are coming back," the coach said. "Merrill Johnson (shoulder injury) practiced some today. Tray Blackmon (ankle injury) is getting better, but we have still got a number of walking wounded who are out and not able to go out and practice to try get better, but we will work through that as we always have knowing we have got four tough conference games coming up back to back, two on the road and two at home. We have got to play better to have an opportunity to win any of those games than we have as a group in the past.

"Saturday night was a great game. It's over, done. Now let's move on and try and see if this team is going to do what we think they will--come back and get focused and play a good game and play as good as they played last week."

In other news:

*Tuberville said he isn't sure when All-SEC defensive end Quentin Groves (three dislocated toes) will be able to practice again after missing Sunday's practice and Tuesday's practice. The coach said the situation will depend on how much pain the fifth-year senior can tolerate.

*Tailback Brad Lester will not start against Vandy and will be eased in and play in a "spot role" for the next couple of games, Tuberville said Tuesday. The junior is making his 2007 debut this week after serving a six-game suspension for an academic issue that sidelined him for the bowl trip to Dallas and the first five games this year.

*Tuberville said the surgery on Monday went very well for tailback Tristan Davis, who suffered a fractured bone on the outside of his foot. He is expected to be back on the field late in the season.

Sen'Derrick Marks came up with a big game in Auburn's 20-17 victory over Florida.

*Defensive end and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said after Tuesday's practice he believes the Tigers will be taking the Commodores seriously this Saturday. "I know from watching film of them they have a very good offensive line," said the sophomore, who was the AU coaching staff's defensive player of the game in the victory over Florida. "They have five senior starters on the offensive line and they look like good players to me."


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