Sunday Football Notes I

News, notes and quotes from Tommy Tuberville on Sunday following Auburn's 17-3 victory over Ole Miss.

Players of the Week

Offense: Rod Smith
Smith continued to be a reliable target for Brandon Cox. As the only player with more than two receptions, Smith had eight for 111 yards and a 34-yard score that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

Defense: Antonio Coleman
The sophomore defensive end was credited with four tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks. He also pressured Brent Schaeffer into throwing the interception in the fourth quarter the fell into the arms of Patrick Lee. Tommy Tuberville had some kind words to say about the play of Coleman.

Special Teams: Robert Shiver
The junior was perfect with his snaps on field goals and punts. He also downed a Wes Byrum punt inside the one-yard line and had a solid hit on punt coverage, putting Dexter McCluster down at the 14-yard line.

Scout Team Offense: Jared Cooper
Cooper is a freshman guard from W.S. Neal High School in Brewton. Tuberville said that Cooper, freshman offensive lineman Kyle Coulahan and freshman receiver Quindarius Carr have been impressive on the scout team.

Scout Team Defense Jeremy Flowers
Flowers was an invited walk-on cornerback from Gadsden City High School.


Auburn improved to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the SEC. The Tigers will play Tennessee Tech on Saturday for Homecoming at 1:30 p.m. The other remaining games are at Georgia on Nov. 10 and versus Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Nov. 24.

"It was a good SEC win for us," Tuberville says. "Our guys played hard. It wasn't an exceptionally great execution game on offense, but I thought defensively we played well. Both teams looked pretty conservative on offense. We carried our game plan out offensively. We probably should have thrown the ball a little bit more. When we get a lead, normally we try to sit on it and let our defense and our kicking game win the game for us. That's pretty much what happened.

"We had some good performances and we're going to have to play much better in the coming weeks. We've got a non-conference game this week where we'll have to shift gears a little bit. It's a good time to play a non-conference game right before we start "Amen Corner" and our big two rivals. Mentally we're pretty much spent as far as nine straight games that have been very tough games. This week hopefully we can get out and work on some different things, get some guys well and get to next week's SEC game against Georgia."



"We didn't have any major injuries yesterday," Tuberville says. "Craig Stevens twisted his ankle a little bit, but should be back sometime this week."

Merrill Johnson (shoulder) has been playing only kickoff coverage since the Arkansas game, but with Stevens hobbled Johnson could see extensive action on defense.

Brandon Cox suffered a bruised non-throwing shoulder on a second quarter sack and was taken to the locker room. However, Tuberville says that he's fine and that the senior QB will practice and play against Tennessee Tech.

"He came back in and did a pretty good job. He had a lick on it about six or seven weeks ago and he just re-aggravated it a little bit. We thought it could be separated, but they've done all of the tests on it and he's going to be fine.

"We're going to practice him. You need to work through it and try to get his mind off it a little bit. We're going to go into this game and try to improve. That's the main thing. You don't want to go into your last two conference games and lose your fundamentals and technique. We're going to practice hard, push hard and everybody will go."

Tuberville adds that safety Aairon Savage (knee) will play against Tennessee Tech. He was going to play against Ole Miss, but defensive coordinator Will Muschamp didn't like what he saw out of Savage during pregame warm-ups.

Kicker Wes Byrum was not going to play against the Rebels because of a quad/groin injury, but Zach Kutch missed a 42-yard attempt in the third quarter with the Tigers leading just 7-3. Byrum came in and hit a 36-yarder, but Tuberville says that they hope to rest Byrum this week.


* Receiver/punt returner Robert Dunn has missed the last two games after an outburst at practice the Wednesday prior to the LSU game. Tuberville says that he will return to action this Saturday.

* Brent Slusher, a freshman from Bell County High School in Kentucky, saw action earlier this season before injuring his wrist. He is headed for a medical redshirt, but was close to breaking into the linebacker rotation. He has been moved back to tight end, where he practiced during the spring.


Tennessee Tech, coached by Watson Brown, should be an easy opponent for the Tigers. The Golden Eagles dropped to 4-5 after a 59-52 loss to Pat Sullivan's Samford Bulldogs. However, Tuberville says that the Tigers will play this game like any other from a practice and personnel standpoint.

"You can work too long for a team," he says of looking ahead to Georgia or Alabama. "What we've done each week--and we really haven't been worried about the opponent we've played because we've got so many young guys--we've just tried to improve. We work a lot on fundamentals and techniques, and we'll probably even do more of that this week. We might hold some guys out in terms of contact to try to get them 100 percent healthy. We'll go into it like a normal game and try not to lose our edge. We've been improving, we've been getting a little bit better each week and we don't want to take a step back this week."


Tuberville briefly commented on all of the rumors about him leaving after the season to go to Texas A&M or wherever.

"It makes good talk doesn't it?" he says. "I guess there is not anything else to talk about. I don't read too much this time of year. I guess this time of year speculation starts on people moving, getting fired and changing jobs. It's just part of the business and I'm used to dealing with it over the past 12 or 13 years. It doesn't bother me too much and I don't get involved with it.

"When we signed a contract a few years ago it was a commitment on both sides," Tuberville adds, with "both sides" meaning Auburn and Tuberville.

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