Tigers Almost Done With Physical Practices

The Auburn football team practiced for about two hours on campus on Monday.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn had another physical practice on Monday in the second to last practice before the players get to head out of town for Christmas break. Having not played a game since the Iron Bowl victory more than three weeks ago, head coach Tommy Tuberville has put his Tigers through a physical week on the practice fields.

"We had four days of very physical practices and we're all beat up," Tuberville explains. "We've got a bunch of guys that are going about half speed. We've done that on purpose as far as trying to be as physical as we can, get to the bowl game and not have to do quite as much. We're missing several guys in terms of being able to go through our live (action).

"You've got (Aairon) Savage, Tray Blackmon--nothing that would keep them out," he adds. "They could play. King Dunlap (knee), there's a bunch more... most of our corners. (Jonathan) Wilhite has not been here much. His brother had an operation so he hasn't been here much."

Though it has been a physical stretch of practice following the end of the fall semester on Thursday, none of the injuries the last four days are expected to be serious enough to keep anybody from playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson on Dec. 31.

"Ankles, shoulders, elbow, feelings... you name it," Tuberville says. "When you get in bowl practice it's one of those where everybody thinks they know what they're doing, but you have to go back and keep working on fundamentals. The bowl practice part at your home is not quite as glamorous as when you get to the practice site. We won't have near the contact there we've had here."

The Tigers' final practice on campus will be on Tuesday, and they will resume on Dec. 26 in Atlanta.

"It was a good practice," Tuberville notes of Monday. "Guys are still focused. You can tell they're getting a little antsy and ready to home and have a little time off. Four physical practice days and tomorrow is going to be the same. We're not going to pull off.

"We're going to work very hard against each other again tomorrow and hopefully we'll have just about everything we're going to do against Clemson in. Let them think about it for about a week, come back and start brushing up on it and get healthy because we couldn't play a game right now because we're so beat up."

Tuberville replaced four-year offensive coordinator Al Borges with Tony Franklin last week. So far the offense has been working on installing some of the new spread offense schemes in hopes of using them in the bowl game. On Monday they got some live action against the defense.

"Today we did more stuff against each other," Tuberville explains. "The offense and defense went against each other for about the first half of practice, which was about an hour. Mentally it was a good day.

"We're getting a lot better in terms of knowing what to do against Clemson," he adds. "It's really only the second day we've done too much. One more day tomorrow and we'll have pretty much what we're going to do on both sides of the ball in terms of game plan. When we get back together in Atlanta we'll start back over and go from the bottom up and polish up a day at a time different things that we're doing."

Tiger Ticket Notes
Redshirt freshman receiver Terrell Zachery got the good news recently that he has been cleared academically to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Tuberville said on Monday that the fall semester grades for his team look to be positive. "We haven't gotten all of the grades in," he says, "but it doesn't look like we'll have any (academic casualties). Everything looks good."

Auburn University graduation is on Monday and three current players will be getting diplomas: center Jason Bosley, offensive tackle King Dunlap and fullback Danny Perry. Former snapper Pete Compton is also graduating and former offensive lineman Ryan Broome is taking home a Master's.

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