Tuberville: Focus Turns to UGA Dawgs

Comments from Auburn's head football coach are featured after his team's 35-3 Homecoming victory.

Auburn, Ala.--Following his team's 35-3 non-conference victory over Tennessee Tech, Coach Tommy Tuberville says it is big game time for his Tigers as they prepare to play their traditional rivalry games vs. Georgia and Alabama.

The Tigers head to Athens, Ga., next Saturday to resume the SEC's oldest rivalry vs. the Georgia Bulldogs.

"We are 7-3, but we would like to be a little bit better than that," the Auburn coach said. "We can't control anything other than trying to play better this week. We know we are going into a hornet's nest going into Georgia next week.

"Georgia is a team that is playing to go to Atlanta just like we are, but I think they can control their destiny if I am not mistaken. We will get their best shot. It will be one of those cross-state battles.

"Our two big games are at the end of the year," Tuberville said. "Our players are looking forward to it. It will be a great game. We are looking forward to it."

Tuberville's team played four quarterbacks as starter Brandon Cox was in for only the first three series as the Tigers jumped to a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter. No. 2 QB Kodi Burns struggled. He was 0-4 passing. No. 3 QB Blake Field was 6-11 and threw for a touchdown while No. 4 QB Neil Caudle was 0-3 and was intercepted.

"I thought he did pretty good," Tuberville said of Field, who made his first QB appearance of the season. "It's the first time that he has played in a while. He got a little antsy in the pocket. We wanted to throw with him some.

"We only played with two running backs (tailbacks)," Tuberville said. "We normally would have run the ball a little more in the second half. We threw the ball and tried to get it to our wide receivers. We didn't do anything spectacular in terms of formations. We just went base plays and didn't check off a whole lot. We didn't get a chance of throwing the ball a few times because of what they were in. We would have done something a little different.

"It was good to get him in the game, and Neil Caudle got a series," Tuberville added. "Kodi struggled a little bit throwing the ball. He was a little bit nervous. That is to be expected.

"I thought the second team offensive line did a pretty good job. They had a couple of holding calls, but overall it was good to get them all in there. It was good for practice. These guys bust their tail all year long and never get to see the field.

"Games like this, you need to be able to have a little bit of fun," Tuberville said. "Guys had smiles on their faces, and it has been a long 10 weeks. In terms of the first nine games, we were on our heels most of the time trying to finish and get a win. That is what these games are all about."

The head coach said he liked the 93-yard interception return by cornerback Walter McFadden, but wasn't pleased with his 15-yard celebration penalty he did after being flagged for an end zone dance.

"It wasn't a very good dance, but it was a good interception," Tuberville said. "Walt is getting better. He has a lot of speed as he showed. He's played quite a bit this year. He breaks on the ball well. He is a smart player. He will be a starter next year for us. It was good to see him get a little confidence."

Commenting on receiver Robert Dunn, who caught two touchdown passes after returning from a two-game suspension, Tuberville said, "He dropped a pass or two on third down which he needs to catch in the next couple of games that we play. Our receivers still are not as consistent as we would like them to be. I think we just lost our concentration--got a little sloppy. Robert has overcome his problem, hopefully. I think he has woken up a little bit. His big deal for us is punt returns. That is going to be one thing that we are going to need out of him for the next couple of games."

Tuberville was very unhappy that the Golden Eagles almost returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the first quarter after the Tigers opened the game with a scoring drive. "The coverage wasn't very good was it? It was awful. We are just looking for a kicker. Wesley (Byrum) will be our kicker. We are just looking for a guy who can kick it. Today we were supposed to kick it right and we kicked it left. The coverage was on the wrong side."

Morgan Hull, a freshman walk-on opened the game kicking off, and Zach Kutch finished the game with that assignment.

"That's the problem when you have different kickers kicking off," Tuberville said. "We come back next week and Wesley will be 100 percent, and we will be ready to go. We will be a lot better. We will see some guys that weren't out there today. We had a lot of backups in the starting roles in the beginning. It will be a lot better the next couple of games."


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