Tigers Report to Bowl Site

An update on the Auburn football team, which reported to Atlanta, is featured.

Atlanta, Ga.--Auburn's football ream reported to the team hotel on Christmas night and will resume bowl practices on Wednesday at Georgia Tech.

"Everybody's here," Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It was a little tough getting in weather-wise, but the guys are fired up."

Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan met with the Auburn players and coaching staff at the Hilton Hotel to welcome the Tigers to Atlanta where they will play Clemson on New Year's Eve.

Wednesday's schedule calls for the Tigers to participate in a welcome dinner with the Clemson players and staff at Fire of Brazil restaurant in downtown Atlanta following a mid-day practice.

Tuberville said Tuesday night he is impressed with Auburn's bowl opponent. "They're a good football team," Tuberville said. "They could have won 11 games. They were very unlucky in some regards. They have a good team. They're very physical, and have a lot of speed.

"They're very similar to us," the Auburn coach added. "They have a lot of great athletes. Tommy (Bowden) has been there the same amount of time as I've been at Auburn. They've had their ups and downs, but this is one of the better teams I've seen them have in the last four or five years."

The bowl game is the eighth straight for the Tigers who will face Clemson for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on New Year's Eve at the soldout Georgia Dome.

Tuberville addresses the Tigers on Christmas night in Atlanta.

"This is a great bowl game for us," Tuberville said. "It gives our fans that might not have enough money to travel to Dallas or Orlando an opportunity to come here to watch us play. This will be the hardest bowl ticket to get of any bowl, including the national championship game because you've got two rivals teams that kind of mold themselves against each other. Both of us recruit Atlanta. It's going to be great for both teams to showcase their teams for a week. Players will be able to see it, and both teams will benefit."

The Tigers have 24 players on the roster from the state of Georgia including junior tailback Brad Lester from Lilburn. "I'm real excited," Lester said. "I've played in the Georgia Dome maybe eight or nine times before in high school, and it's always fun to play there. I'm looking forward to getting back in there and playing another game.

Senior noseguard Josh Thompson, Auburn's second-leading tackler, is also a Georgian. "You know it's going to be fun," the former Statesboro High star said. "It's a good bowl. We're going to have a good time. It's an opportunity for the seniors to win 50 games, and we want to go out with a win instead of a loss to set up this program for a good season next year."

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