AU Coach Likes Wednesday Workout

An Auburn football practice report features comments from the head coach of the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tommy Tuberville gave a thumbs up to Wednesday's practice as the Tigers worked for two hours and finished up under the lights at the football complex as Auburn continues preparations for its second road trip of the season.

"It was a good practice," said Tuberville, whose 4-2 Tigers will face Arkansas at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday. "Guys are working hard. Injuries are about the same. Nobody went any significant time. It doesn't look like we are going to get any of those guys back. Everybody is working hard, the game plan is almost finished. We worked a lot on the kicking game today and we concentrated a lot on defense and playing hard."

Commenting on center Jason Bosley, who was injured in the Vanderbilt game with a knee sprain, Tuberville said, "He jogged around, snapped a few balls, that's about it."

On defense the Tigers are trying to get starters Tray Blackmon, Merrill Johnson, Aairon Savage and Quentin Groves ready to play.

Tuberville said he has respect for the Razorbacks. "We are playing against a good team, especially on offense. They are averaging 42 points a game." Going into classic SEC head coach poor-mouthing mode, Tuberville said the challenge is even bigger because of the injuries on the AU defense.

"We are trying to find enough defensive players to play," Tuberville said. "We are missing four starters who probably won't play this week in this game. Offensively, we have made some improvement. We have stayed away from the turnover bug and hopefully we can continue to do that."

The Auburn coach said his defense, even if totally healthy, would have its hands full trying to contain star tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

"Every year we have played them there has been no difference," he said of the talented tandem that has combined for 282 rushing yards per contest this season. "They try to get the ball in either of there hands on every snap. They do a good job of that.

"I think with McFadden (bruised ribs) being a little under the weather the last few weeks, I think Jones has even shown he can be that much more explosive so there is not a lot of difference. We prepare for both of them the same."

Arkansas stunned Auburn last year, knocking off an unbeaten No.2 ranked AU team 27-10 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Razorbacks normally are fired up to play the Tigers and often play well vs. Auburn. Asked about the reason for that, Tuberville said, "The thing about Arkansas is that they are well coached and they have always had good players. I think that we have had some good battles over the years. Last year we thought we had a better team that would play better, but Arkansas had a lot to do with it. I think that is what you normally run into.

"Each week in this conference you have to play hard and you have to play consistently," Tuberville said. "Teams like Houston Nutt's team that are physical and can run the ball they tend to bring out things that are in your football team that you might not know a lot about. We have played a lot of finesse teams over the last few weeks. This will be totally different for our football team this week and I think that is what makes this game pretty exciting to watch every year."

Auburn won on its last road trip to Fayetteville in 2005 and the Tigers have not lost a road game since falling in overtime at LSU two years ago.

When asked the reason for his team's road success, Tuberville said, "Early in my career we didn't play as well. We have obviously got more players now than what we had earlier that played a higher level and played together as a team. When you go on the road, and there is only 60 or 65 of you, you have got to go in there as a team and play as a team. If not, in these SEC stadiums, these SEC teams can exploit you pretty quick."

In other news:

Alex Tejada

*Saturday's game will match up a pair of freshman kickers off to a hot start. Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada has made 10-11 field goals while Auburn's Wes Byrum has connected on 8-10 tries despite playing through an ankle sprain. "When we recruited him we knew he had something to him," Tuberville said of Byrum. "If you give him the ball, he feels at any time he can make it from anywhere. He loves pressure. He played defense in high school and he is a real tough individual, a physical type of guy so he is not your typical kicker."

*The Tigers spent a significant amount of time on team work at the practice. "Wednesday is the day where we go against each other quite a bit 11 on 11," Tuberville said. "We are still doing that. We are going to stop that in about two more weeks."

*Tuberville said the Tigers spent 15 minutes of practice on kickoff coverage, a challenge with McFadden and Jones both on the field as returners for the Razorbacks.


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