Tuberville Discusses Job Situation, Iron Bowl

Auburn, Ala.--On Monday before the annual Iron Bowl, head coach Tommy Tuberville briefly touched base once again with the media about rumors of him possibly leaving Auburn following the 2007 season.

"I've sat down with (Athletics Director) Jay Jacobs once a week and we discuss things," Tuberville says. "As we said earlier, we're going to sit down next week and visit. As I told them, I love Auburn. I love the Auburn people. They've done a lot for me and I hope we've done a lot for them. We're going to be at Auburn as long as they want us here, and we're fired up about that."

On the football field, the Tigers are coming off their first off week of the season following a 45-20 defeat at Georgia. Tuberville says that his team should in "pretty good" shape physically for the 72nd meeting between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide.

"Our guys have practiced hard," he explains. "Almost everybody that we have is practicing. We're in pretty good shape in terms of injuries. We have some guys that are not quite 100 percent. I think everybody is going to be held accountable in terms of being ready to go because they've worked very hard in the training room to get ready to go. So we're in pretty good shape physically.

"(Tristan Davis) did practice and ran well," Tuberville says of his kick returner, who has played in only one game this season because of toe and foot injuries. "He's a lot better than he was last Thursday. He gets better every day and we'll just have to wait and see.

"Craig Stevens (ankle) practiced and ran well, so did Zach Clayton. He's had an ankle sprain. In the past we've had about four or five people in the training room. Today they were all out on the field. We had to find another field to practice on we had so many guys out there."

Alabama got its one off week in late October, but since then the Tide have lost three straight games. The last one came in especially embarrassing circumstances at home against Louisiana-Monroe.

"I've been in this profession a long time and I know how those things can happen," Tuberville says. "I've been on both sides. Every week you've just got to go out and get ready to go. We had a setback in our last one, so it's two teams not coming off great games and trying to improve. I've seen it all in sports and in football. You're going to have a lot of those if you stay in it long enough."

Auburn enters the contest at 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. Alabama, in Nick Saban's first season, is 6-5 overall with the same conference record as the Tigers. However, the Tigers have won six of their last eight games and are ranked 25th in the AP and coaches' polls. The Crimson Tide are just 3-5 in their last eight.

"It's going to go and come," Tuberville says of the two teams having down years. "It's like this conference. You're going to have people that have good years and people that have down years. This game is always going to be a big game in terms of what happens within the boundaries of this state because everybody is excited about it. I think there are years when it's going be more exciting because of what's happening nationally, hopefully, with both teams. Both teams will be back up there and one day in the future hopefully both teams will be in the top 10 and playing to get to Atlanta the next week."

In a rare Monday practice following the bye, the Tigers practiced in shells. With no class because of Thanksgiving, Auburn will continue with early afternoon practices through Thursday even though most of the game plan was put in last week.

"I'm a believer that sometimes you can out-coach yourself," Tuberville explains. "We've got our game plan pretty much intact after last Thursday. We hadn't implemented it at all yet, but we're not going to make any changes after the weekend in terms of what we're going to do this week. The players win the games, especially games like this. You just want to get them out there and get them in a situation where they feel comfortable, knowing what they're doing, let them play and see what happens."

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium with television coverage on ESPN.

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