Dome Sweet Dome For Friday Practice

Coach Tommy Tuberville as well as Brad Lester and Brandon Cox talk about Friday's practice and getting ready to face Clemson.

Atlanta, Ga.--The Auburn Tigers finished their physical practices for the Chick-fil-A-Bowl on Friday afternoon with a two-hour workout in the Georgia Dome as they prepare to face Clemson on New Year's Eve. Coach Tommy Tuberville says it was a chance for his team to get used to the surroundings in the dome and work on some of the finer points of the game plan.

"It was a good day today," Tuberville says. "We went to the dome and our guys had an extra step. They were excited about being in there for the first time. We'll go back tomorrow. We worked on a lot of the kicking game being the first time in there, guys catching balls and receivers looking up into the ceiling. It's a little bit different playing in a dome.

Tommy Tubeerville

"It was a good practice," he adds. "We brushed up on pretty much everything we're going to do. We went about half speed in everything. Basically that's the last practice we will have. Tomorrow (Saturday) we'll have a walk-through and then we'll see how it's going. We're healthy, everybody but King (King Dunlap), and everybody is ready to go."

One of the players who has been banged up is running back Mario Fannin. Bothered by a sore groin late in the year and then by a blister on his Achilles tendon on Thursday, Tuberville says Fannin looked much better on Friday and should have no problems by game time.

"He looked good today," Tuberville says. "He ran good. He just had inflammation of his Achilles tendon. They iced it down and he looked real good today. He ran around 100 percent."

Running back Brad Lester has also looked good in bowl practices with Coach Tony Franklin calling him the perfect guy to work in his spread system. A player familiar with the Georgia Dome from his high school days playing for Parkview, Lester says that working out inside the dome is big for the team because it's a different feel than you're used to.

"The atmosphere just in the stadium and getting adjusted to the stadium and the lights, it all makes a difference," Lester says. "Just to practice in the dome and run around on the turf was good for us today."

Bowl games are always a little different because of the time off between games. By the time Auburn hits the field Monday night it will be over a month since the Tigers have played a game. That makes for a challenge, especially on offense, to get into a rhythm and Brandon Cox says that's the key to victory as far as he's concerned.

"It's about going out and getting off to a good start, especially after being off for so long," Cox says. "If you go out and start off slow it's going to be hard to recover. If you do you've got to be able to recover and limit the turnovers. That's one thing that has hurt us this season in our losses is turning the ball over.

"If we can go out and not turn the ball over and give our defense a chance to win the game, we have a great defense. If we don't turn the ball over and our defense plays well then we'll win the game."

Freshman Wes Byrum kicks a field goal at the Georgia Dome in Friday's workout.

Auburn will have its final practice on Saturday with a walk-through scheduled indoors where the Tigers will hook the headsets up to make sure everything is in order for the game. Franklin will be on the field for the game, keeping all of Auburn's coaches duties the same for game days. Monday night's game at the Georgia Dome against Clemson is scheduled for 6:30 CST and can be seen live on ESPN.


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