Tigers Move Football Practice

A practice report is featured on the Auburn Tigers as they continue preparations for their road trip to Georgia.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn focused on the kicking game, the red zone offense and putting in the game plan for Saturday's road trip to Georgia in a two-hour practice at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Coach Tommy Tuberville called for a change of venue for the workout because he wanted to take advantage of the better lights at Jordan-Hare Stadium rather than workout at the football complex fields.

"We had a nice spirited practice," the coach says of the workout in helmets, shoulder pads and sweat pants. "Whenever we go in there, our guys always have a good time. It changes the atmosphere. They are looking forward to the game.

"We had a good practice today--no fights," Tuberville says. "We limited that to just scuffles. We practiced a lot on the kicking game, obviously trying to do some things to help us out a little bit in terms of mistakes we have been making.

"We worked on a lot of red zone stuff," the coach says. "They are one of the better red zone teams. We haven't been as good a red zone team as we would like to be...we worked a lot on red zone offense and defense."

Tuberville is looking to improve his record as Auburn's head coach to 4-1 in Athens for the game that will be televised nationally on CBS with a 2:30 p.m. CST start. Auburn has won six of its last seven road trips to Athens and 10 of its last 12 games at Sanford Stadium. "I hope it continues, but you never know," Tuberville says. "When you have games that are won or lost on the road, maybe an imbalance either way, usually they are close games."

Auburn's last trip to Athens was a close game as the Tigers rallied for a 31-30 victory in the final seconds, but a significant number of the AU-UGA matchups in recent years have been one-sided like last year's 37-15 Georgia win in Auburn and Auburn's 24-6 win in 2004 plus Georgia's 26-7 victory in 2003. In the last 20 Tigers vs. Bulldog showdowns, the winning margin has been in double figures in 12 of those games.

However, one thing recent Auburn games have not been is predictable. "When you have a rival game, you get the most and best out of both teams," Tuberville says. "When that happens, anything can happen. There really isn't a road or home advantage in rival games."

Auburn players have note they were embarrassed at how they were dominated in last year's Georgia game, something the head coach acknowledges has been discussed. However, he said that the "revenge" factor isn't going to matter on Saturday because who the opponent is. "You don't need motivation in a rival game," he says.

In other news:

*Commenting on his decision to move Blake Field to the No. 2 QB spot and move Kodi Burns up to first team this week, Tuberville says that Burns really struggled vs. Tennessee Tech. "He didn't play very well. I thought he looked a little nervous, a little tight, a little tense. Of course, he is 18 years old. He is going to be a good quarterback. It has just been a while since he played an active part.

"He had a opportunity to sit around all last week knowing he was going to play a lot. He was mentally prepared. He just couldn't pull the trigger and make the plays in terms of making the throws."

Tuberville adds, "We will give Kodi a chance to rest a little this week and understand he has to do better when he plays."

In other news:

*Tailback and kick returner Tristan Davis looks to be on schedule to return for the Alabama game although the junior is trying to get ready to play the home-state Bulldogs. "He is running around good," Tuberville says. "It would be hard for him to play. He wants to play, but needs a little bit more work."

*Linebacker Craig Stevens is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered vs. Ole Miss and is expected to miss the Georgia game. Quentin Groves is scheduled to start in that position, Auburn coaches say.

*Auburn is ranked No. 5 nationally in scoring defense going into the game allowing 14.5 points per game. Georgia is 42nd, allowing 22.4 points per game.

*Georgia is ranked 38th nationally in scoring with an average of 31.4 points per outing. Auburn is 70th at 25.5 points.

*Auburn is eighth nationally in total defense, giving up 293.8 yards per game, which is second in the league behind LSU's 234.7. Georgia allows 340.9 yards, which is fourth in the league and 34th nationally.

*Auburn is 92nd nationally in total offense at 343.6 yards per game, which is ninth in the SEC. Georgia is seventh in the SEC and 71st nationally at 379.7 yards per contest.

*Auburn played 13 linemen on Homecoming, but Oscar Gonzalez was not one of them. "Oscar is concentrating on academics," Tuberville says. "He got a little bit behind. He is still with us."

*Long-time football equipment manager Milton Thurston, who handled that assignment during the Shug Jordan Era, died on Tuesday at the age of 88. There will be family visitation at 10 a.m. Friday at Fredericks Funeral Home. he service will follow at 11:00. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Hospice of East Alabama.

*King Dunlap is expected to continue to start at left tackle even though Ryan Pugh is back from his ankle injury. Tuberville notes that King gave the coaches "a little scare" at the practice. "He went down with a knee, got up, shook it off and finished practice," Tuberville says.

*Tight end Gabe McKenzie is back to full speed, Tuberville says. The coach says he liked the way that tailback Brad Lester, who was held out last week, ran the football.

*Tuberville has praise for UGA quarterback Matt Stafford back who had a strong game for the Tigers last year. "He was a true freshman last year who struggled some until our game," Tuberville points out. "I guess the light came on for him. We let him run, we let him throw. We made it pretty easy for him. They did a good job against us last year. They blocked us pretty good, they had a good scheme, they made it easy for what he was doing. Hopefully, we have adjusted and made some corrections, but his first Georgia-Auburn game was a very good one."


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