Tuberville, Tigers Busy Preparing For Bulldogs

Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville is preparing his Tigers for a Saturday home game vs. seventh-ranked Georgia.

Auburn, Ala.--Last week was a busy one for the Auburn coaching staff. One on hand they had the task of getting the Tigers ready to play outclassed Louisiana-Monroe for Homecoming, but on the other hand the tough Georgia Bulldogs were on the horizon. While they didn't devote any time on the practice fields to Coach Mark Richt's team, Coach Tommy Tuberville said they got a head start on both the Bulldogs and Alabama last week in addition to preparing the team for the Indians.

"We spent half the week on Alabama and Georgia breaking down film," Tuberville said. "There's not a lot you can do game plan wise, but you want to make sure you're caught up to a point because you are so late in the season and you get so many films that you can't watch them all in a three or four day period. You kind of sit down and you go through the formations. We had our game plan in for Louisiana-Monroe by Wednesday and then we spent most of Wednesday and Thursday breaking down film. We do that in some other games, too. We don't do anything with the players, just the coaches, but it's tough on coaches because you are sitting there watching film and trying to get it broken down knowing your mindset has to be on someone else. You have to be careful how you do it."

Making the task tougher this week for the Tigers is Georgia's two-headed quarterback. With both sophomore David Greene and D.J. Shockley seeing action and Richt saying publicly he wants the redshirt freshman to see even more action, Auburn must prepare for both a passer in Greene and a run-pass combination in Shockley. For the season Greene is 164-287 for 2,162 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In limited action, Shockley is 23-36 for 273 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

David Greene is shown in action during Auburn's 24-17 victory over Georgia last season.

"We'll prepare for both of them," Tuberville said. "What you do is teach your team when both are on the field. Most of the things you do for a guy that they put in for 15 or 20 percent of the game is you do mainly off film. They'll run a smaller package and not do as may things. They'll do a few things with Shockley and getting him out of the pocket and running the football. When you're calling defense you have to prepare to make sure you have someone spying on him for the run. You have to do a preparation for him, but the main thing you have to do is work for the starter."

While Georgia has been successful playing both quarterbacks, the Tigers have flourished under sophomore Jason Campbell. The starter since the LSU game three weeks ago, he has completed 26-42 passes for just over 400 yards during that time, but more importantly he has four touchdowns and no turnovers. Completing 68.1 percent of his passes for 835 yards with eight touchdowns and just one interception, Campbell has shown his head coach what kind of player he can be down the stretch.

"He's thrown well in the pocket and throwing the ball deep," Tuberville said. "I'll tell you what he's done, too, is throwing the ball well scrambling out of the pocket, throwing to guys on the run in crossing routes. That's been a big factor. We ran very little of our offense with him (against Louisiana-Monroe). We didn't even get in the shotgun with him. We didn't run any of our option stuff that we've been working on. We kept it pretty basic."

A learning process the coaching staff and players have to deal with is having the two most emotional games of the season back-to-back to finish the year. Different than any other game on the schedule, both Georgia and Alabama present the Tigers with a challenge unlike any other and Tuberville said he's talked with a former Auburn coach to see how he handled the players and the pressure of the final two games of the season.

"I've talked to Coach (Pat) Dye about it," Tuberville said. "These are our two toughest games of the year because they are our two rival games. Last year we went in and played about as hard and emotional as we could play and I don't think there is any doubt we left something over there the way we played the next week. But there's not any secret to it. That's the way the schedule works and you have to just go play.

"Hopefully, you play well but you don't get so emotionally involved win or lose and not give yourself a chance the next week. It is a tough two games, but Alabama has the same thing. They have LSU. I think that's one of their bigger rivalries, or it has been in the past."

Georgia comes into the game with one of the more experienced offensive lines the Tigers will face this season and a defensive line that is capable of making plays all over the field. Working on ways to give Campbell enough time to throw the ball and keep Greene on the run, Tuberville said this is a special week for everyone involved as the Bulldogs come to town.

"They've got a good team with tremendous team speed," he said. "They have a very athletic offensive and defensive line. They're probably the most well rounded team we have played so far. It's a game that we have at home. We're looking forward to going back and seeing if we can improve. I think this is the best our team has played all year the last three games. We're playing to the point now where it's minor things we're doing, but it looks like we're on the right path. If we continue to play with emotion and effort we'll have a good chance to play a good game the next couple of weeks."


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