Tuberville Comments on Beating Bama--Again

A postgame report from Jordan-Hare Stadium features comments from Tommy Tuberville.

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville are featured following Auburn's 17-10 victory over Alabama:

"It was a typical Iron Bowl. There was a lot of defense. There was a lot of hard hitting. You had guys on both sides playing hard. We knew we would get a good shot from them after not playing very well last week. We knew we would get a good shot from them. They played well. They did a good job coaching. They did some things that kept us confused, but that is what this game is about. It all comes down to who wins in the trenches and we had a lot of guys that played hard.

"We didn't protect too well in the first half. I thought Coach (Hugh) Nall did a good job of adjusting at halftime. I thought the offensive line was a key in the second half. They were a little bit more consistent. Brad Lester was a little short of 100 yards. He made a lot of plays.

"What can you say about Brandon Cox? He is a kid who has never lost to Alabama. He came in here and struggled very early in his career as a freshman and went home. He came back and to go out tonight and do what he did. It wasn't pretty, but he got the job done. He got us in a lot of great plays."

Commenting on Auburn's first-ever six-game winning streak vs. Alabama, Tuberville said, "I've read a lot of history about Auburn, and there were times when Auburn struggled a little bit. I hope they can be proud now in what this team's done by beating our in-state rival six games in a row. That is for people to talk about. It's not something we just look at. We look at going out and playing well and beating the team that we are playing. It is truly a fan game. This is for you. This is for the fans who have struggled over the years and wanted to see something like this happen and it happened. I am so proud of everybody involved.

"It was a great crowd tonight. Again both sides fought hard. It was a clean hard battle, and we were just very fortunate to come out and win the game. We finished on a strong note, and hopefully we will get a good bowl game and still try to get a little better."

Commenting on if he thought he could ever get the winning streak to six when he took over the AU job in 1999, Tuberville said, "I was just hoping to beat them a few times. When I got here, my record wasn't very good against Alabama as a head coach. We lost our first year at home, and it was the first time they ever lost here at home. The next year, we won on the road and we come back the next year and didn't play very well. Since then, coaches have put their noses to the grindstone and worked very hard. It is always a hard game to prepare for. It is a hard game to get the momentum back and forth and to get it in your favor, but to do this six times in a row is an accomplishment of the players and the coaches have a little to do something to do with it. This is truly a players game and in turn being a fans game, they really get into it and get the players motivated."

On Jerraud Powers' interception with 17 seconds left in the half, Tuberville said, "It was huge. We struggled in the second quarter. All year long it was one quarter or another where we had problems. We put up 10 quick points and the second quarter, we put our defense with their back to the wall a couple of times with the interception and of course, the big kickoff return. You can*t say enough about the defense.

"Josh Thompson comes in and he gave a good speech last night to the team. We let all the seniors get up and say a few words for the last home game of the season. Josh gets up and was very serious how deep Auburn and how much Auburn means to him. Being a guy who is not very tall that plays on the defensive line who really doesn't look like a big-time college football player, but to play the way he did tonight. He was all over the field making his plays. He was an instrumental part of winning this game tonight. He is normally not out there a lot, but tonight he was and probably led the team in tackles just looking at it. He was just unbelievable."

Commenting on the running of sophomore Ben Tate, Tuberville said, "Ben Tate had a really good night. All the running backs ran hard. When you talk about this game, you talk about being physical and it all starts with the offensive line, but your running backs have to get yards after contact. It was a super, super game by the running backs breaking tackles and getting extra yards."

Tuberville said Robert Dunn's fourth quarter punt return that set up Auburn's second touchdown was big. "We have been waiting for that all year long. It was a low kick. It was a pretty smart coaching move. He took the wind in the fourth quarter. We had the ball with the wind going into the third quarter, and they got a very good kick but outkicked their coverage and we have been trying to get Robert to run north and south all year and he is starting to get the hang of it. That was big in terms of turning the field around, and the kick of Ryan Shoemaker. They get the ball in the fourth quarter at the one-yard line with the wind at their back. That was probably one of the biggest keys to the game with the field position with the punt and being able to get that punt to the 1 and then with the punt return back to about the 45."

The Auburn coach said it wasn't a problem to bounce back from a loss to Georgia. "Ever since I have been here, it is an easy get over of playing Georgia whether you win or lose that game knowing that this game is right around the corner. Unfortunately, this game was two weeks away and we had to sit around a little bit longer and think about the Georgia loss. It gave us a little bit of time to get people ready to play and get their focus back on this game. They weren't going to be denied six in a row. These kids wanted to put their names in history and they did."

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