Tuberville: Iron Bowl Is A Players' Game

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the Tigers' preparation for Alabama and the importance of the Iron Bowl.

Auburn, Ala.--This year's Iron Bowl contest between the 7-4 Auburn Tigers and the 6-5 Alabama Crimson Tide took a hit on Saturday when Alabama lost at home to Louisiana-Monroe, making the game one that isn't largely attractive outside the two fans bases this week.

As for the impact of Alabama's loss on this week's game, Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville says it won't have any at all. Throw in Auburn's loss to Georgia its last time out and he says you have two teams that will be fighting to end the season on a positive note in the biggest game of the year.

"It doesn't make any difference," Tuberville says. "We lost too now. We've got a situation where that's the worst we had played and our guys were in the tank. It doesn't make any difference whether you win or lose the game before this one. You find out more of what you're made of. They've had to bounce back from losing games and we've had to bounce back from losing games. That won't be a factor."

What could be a factor for the 25th-ranked Tigers is the health situation. With a week off and time to get several players rested up in preparation for Saturday's game, Tuberville says other than a few players everyone looks ready to go. Among those is running back Brad Lester, who Tuberville says was banged up after some extensive use the last five weeks, but is raring to go this week. The same is true of Tristan Davis, but Tuberville says he's still not sure how much the running back has recovered from the broken bone in his foot.

"Right now you have Tristan (Tristan Davis) and Zach Clayton, he's not 100 percent," Tuberville says. "He got an ankle sprain a couple of weeks ago in practice. Craig Stevens was back at practice Thursday. He won't be 100 percent, but he'll play."

After practicing three days last week before taking Friday and Saturday off, the team will watch film on Sunday before returning to the practice field on Monday. Deciding to give his team a full weekend off from work, Tuberville says they'll have plenty of time on the field, but he wanted to make sure his team was as rested as possible.

"We've got way too much practice time for this game," Tuberville says. "We've already got most of our game plan in. You've still got to have an off day and yesterday was our off day. We'll do a little meeting today. You want to get them mentally as ready as you can. That's the bottom line. All the rival games I have been in you just get them there and make sure they know what they're doing. You try to give them an edge and throw it out there and let it eat."

Auburn spent much of last week trying to recover from a humbling 45-20 loss at Georgia, the Tigers' worst performance of the season according to Tuberville. Because of that the team has spent time working on the x's and o's of what went wrong. In the end though this is the Iron Bowl and Tuberville says his players will be ready to play regardless of what happened last week.

"As coaches you try to get your guys in a situation where they have some confidence going in," Tuberville says. Obviously we've got our work cut out for us this week because we didn't play well in the last outing. We worked on that last week. This is a players' game. As coaches you get them as prepared as you can and get them to the game because they're going to play their tail off."

Auburn will be going for its sixth consecutive victory against Alabama and the seniors will be trying to be the third-straight group to never lose to the Crimson Tide. Tuberville says that's something that makes this game a huge one every year because it's truly about bragging rights.

"You don't play this game for bowl implications," Tuberville says. "You play this one for pride. It is the seniors' last game at home and the last regular season game. This is truly a player's game. They get more out of this for the next 50 years than anybody else because they'll get to talk about their last game and how they played against their rival."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories