What Can Brown Do For The Tigers?

Auburn's leading rusher may play this weekend.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers got some well-deserved good news on Wednesday as tailback Ronnie Brown returned to practice in a limited role. The leading rusher and scorer on the team with 824 yards and 12 touchdowns, he sprained an ankle against Georgia Saturday. While he's still questionable for this week's game against archrival Alabama, Coach Tommy Tuberville said it was good to see him on the practice field.

"Everybody practiced today except for Brandon Johnson," Tuberville said. "Ronnie was out there a little bit but didn't do a whole lot. We're still trying to get him full speed. Brandon is still beat up. Tomorrow is the cut off day. If they don't go tomorrow they're not going to be able to play so we'll see what happens.

Ronnie Brown

"He's still a little bit sore," Tuberville said of Brown. "The thing that I worry about is being able to cut real good. You don't need to go out and just be a straight liner in a game like this, you have to be able to cut and be able to defend yourself. He's getting better. We've still got a good 48 hours of treatment. We'll see what happens."

Saying that there is still some swelling with Johnson's ankle injury, Tuberville said his injury is a little more serious. That makes his availability doubtful for this weekend. Tailback Chris Butler, who is returning from a groin injury, practiced on Wednesday but will not play. The good news on offense is that wide receiver Silas Daniels is back to 100 percent after suffering a pulled groin also and will be ready this weekend after having a solid practice on Wednesday.

Continuing the implement the game plans on both side of the ball for Alabama, the Tigers practiced under the lights in Jordan-Hare Stadium Wednesday for just over two hours. Tuberville said he was proud of the effort and concentration he saw out of the team despite a long day of watching film and meetings for most of the team after classes this morning.

"It was a good day of practice," Tuberville said. "We've got most of our game plan in. We'll work more on the kicking game tomorrow and kind of put the finishing touches on it. We looked pretty good, looked sharp. The guys are pretty excited about the Iron Bowl and we look forward to the challenge. It's going to be interesting how we bounce back but sometimes you can camouflage emotions and enthusiasm. I don't think this group is doing that. I think they are truly excited and look forward to it."

Defensively the Tigers are as healthy as you could hope for this late in the season with everyone except Mayo Sowell ready for Saturday's game. Out for the season with a knee injury, Sowell turns the reigns over to Dexter Murphy to move back outside and get the job done as a back up when starter Reggie Torbor needs a blow.

Linebacker Karlos Dansby and defensive tackle Spencer Johnson were both running around fine during Wednesday's practice. The duo, along with cornerback and kick returner Roderick Hood, all are expected to be ready to play this weekend.

"Karlos is probably not quite as good as he was this time last week but he's fine," Tuberville said. "He'll get better between now and Saturday. Spencer is fine. Most guys are just not full speed at this time of year but Alabama is going to have a lot of guys like that too. It's really not that much of a factor."

That is good news for a defense that needs to be at its strongest this weekend facing a balanced Alabama offense that has turned the ball over just 16 times. The Tigers, led by a SEC best 19 interceptions, have forced 30 turnovers this season. This game may come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes. In this game that's usually the case.

"Every game that we've won we've been able to get more turnovers," Tuberville said. "Last week who would have ever thought we would be ahead 14-3 at halftime with three turnovers. That was amazing. That usually doesn't happen. Usually in a game like this turnovers are the difference."

Auburn will practice Thursday in Auburn and have a short walk-through on Friday before departing that afternoon. The team will stay in Birmingham Friday night. Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. and can be seen on CBS.

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