Tuberville Talks About Beat His Tigers

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about Saturday's game against Georgia and the injury problems the Tigers face heading into Saturday's game against Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--Following a tough last-minute loss to the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday, Coach Tommy Tuberville said Sunday that his team is beat up physically and mentally as they prepare for rival Alabama this weekend.

Losing defensive end Mayo Sowell for this week and perhaps the rest of the season because of a knee injury and with fullback Brandon Johnson questionable because of an ankle sprain, the Tigers are in a tough spot this week with Alabama waiting in the wings.

Injuries also affected tailback Ronnie Brown, who sprained an ankle but returned to action one series later. He should be able to play in Saturday's game, but may not be 100 percent. That could mean more action for true freshman Tre Smith or Chris Butler if he's able to return from a hamstring injury.

Fullback Brandon Johnson was on crutches Sunday and is questionable for Saturday's game.

"That was a tough game," Tuberville said of the Georgia loss. "We had quite a few injuries going into the game. A lot of them kind of resurfaced and we'll know more about the injuries Tuesday. I have a feeling most of them will be ready to play this game. A couple of days of treatment and a little bit of rest usually does wonders for bodies."

An obvious concern for the Tuberville and the offensive staff is the loss of Johnson. The player who has quickly become the heart-and-soul of the Auburn offense with his lead blocking and team attitude, his loss was easy to spot against Georgia. On seven drives following Johnson's injury, the Tigers managed just 39 yards of total offense in 23 plays, 25 yards of which came on a pass to Robert Johnson on Auburn's final desperation drive.

"Well we've got Cooper Wallace," Tuberville said. "We'll run about the same plays except some of the straight ahead plays. I really don't know. We'll look at Michael Owens, but we have to have somebody that knows the complete offense. We really don't have an answer yet, but we'll have to wait and see how Brandon is. He might be able to play."

If Johnson is unable to go Tuberville said the Tigers would likely work out of more one-back and offset formations to utilize more of the offense in the absence of the power and toughness Johnson brought to the game. Using Wallace as they have in the last few games as a motion man blocking at the point of attack, he'll basically become a fullback and lead blocker if Johnson can't play.

After watching the film from Saturday's loss to Georgia, Tuberville said it wasn't Jason Campbell's best day under center for the, but it was easily good enough to win. With his fullback possibly out this weekend facing the best defense Auburn has seen this season, Tuberville said Campbell would probably be asked to do more in the passing game this Saturday.

"It wasn't a great game, but he's learning more and more about how to handle himself in the pocket and scrambling around," Tuberville said. "He made some big plays. He didn't make a lot of mistakes. He threw a couple of balls that he shouldn't have thrown into coverage, but it just wasn't a real good day for him throwing the football because we're not a spread out team like Georgia. We're more of a fullback or one back, play-action team. We depend more on the run. It has worked out pretty good for us, but with the injuries we've got we're going to have to look at a little bit more of a spread offense."

Kickoff for Saturday's game against Alabama is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and can be seen on CBS. Auburn will take Monday off before resuming practice on Tuesday.


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