Auburn, Ala.--Practicing for just under two hours inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Auburn Tigers (7-4) continue to take advantage of an off week this week to work on correcting mistakes and working on fundamentals. Coach Tommy Tuberville says he likes the work his team has put in the last two days on the field.
"We went to the stadium tonight mainly because of the lights," Tuberville says. "We need better lighting at night. This is the last time we will practice at night. Tomorrow we'll go in the morning.
"That attitude is real good," he adds. "They're excited, obviously more about getting a few days off right now. They'll come back Sunday and we'll get ready to go."
The good news for the Tigers is that the off week should allow for several players to get back to or closer to full speed for next week's Iron Bowl showdown against Alabama. Tuberville says that he was particularly pleased with the way Tristan Davis practiced as he comes back from a broken bone in his foot suffered against Florida.
"We had a good practice today," Tuberville says. "Tristan looked good. He ran well. Craig Stevens ran well. Ryan Pugh was moving real good, a lot better than he did last week. It was a good practice. We did a lot of our kicking game stuff over there tonight to get all that on film in the stadium.
"We're just working on different situations and things we might do in the game since we've got so many days. We don't want to go a lot of repetitions in some areas because some guys get bored of it. We're just picking out certain things we want to work on and working on those."
This week has been more laid back for the Tigers because of the off week. After playing the entire season to this point without a break, Tuberville says he has decided his team and coaching staff needs to get away from the game as much as possible this week to re-energize them for the last week of the season.
"After 11 games straight, we needed to get off the field and away from each other to try to get our minds back 100 percent," Tuberville says. "Mentally, we were tired. Not only the players, but the coaches. I have put time limits that coaches could be up here this week. We have worked awfully hard starting on our game plan for next week, but we need to spend a little bit time away from the office. Player-wise, we have limited practice time."
Coming off a disheartening loss at Georgia when the Tigers allowed the final 28 points of the game in a 45-20 loss, Tuberville says this week has been spent mainly on the little things. With a few days of rest planned at the end of the week, he says this team needs to come back focused and ready to go on Sunday.
"We are working mainly on fundamentals and techniques trying to get some guys healthy. Then we will come back after a Thursday practice we will take a day or so off and come back Sunday and starting putting the game plan in for our game next week."
The kickoff for the Iron Bowl game on Nov. 24 is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen nationally on ESPN.
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Tuberville says the practice was a good one for his team with spirits high throughout the day. Much of the reason for that is that the team will have Friday and Saturday off before continuing the preparations for Alabama on Sunday. Tuberville notes many of the upperclassmen will leave after tomorrow morning's practice because they don't have Friday classes. Many of the freshmen don't get that luxury though as some have Friday afternoon tests that will keep them from getting out of town until later.
This season it has almost become a custom to close practices the week of the Alabama game for their opponents because of a fear of spying from the other side. Florida State, Georgia, LSU and others have done just that the week of their game against the Crimson Tide. Tuberville says his decision to go to the stadium had nothing to do with that however.
"I had a pee wee team in there and their coaches," Tuberville says. "We had a FCA group from Carrollton, Ga. in there that raises money for Chette (Williams). They were all there. We weren't worried about them spying on us. We don't worry too much about that."
On Wednesday Auburn released the 2008 football schedule. It features a season opener against Louisiana-Monroe following by road games at West Virginia and Mississippi State before returning home to face LSU and Tennessee in back-to-back weeks. Tuberville says the schedule will be a challenging one for his team.
"It's the SEC and you're going to have to play them sooner or later," Tuberville says of the rash of tough games following the West Virginia game. "This year was a killer schedule in terms of road games. We went .500. You would like to win them all, but I thought we competed well until the last quarter of the last road game."