"It makes it that much more sweeter," Tuberville said. "If you go in there with all your bullets everybody would say it's going to be a close game. To have some young guys step up and play so well makes it that much sweeter. It doesn't make the win any better but it makes you feel a lot better because you say ‘hey, we did this, guys had to step up and rise to the occasion and do something they had no idea they could do'. That's going to be a good lesson for all our players. You're going to have some adversity and that's a prime example of adversity."
One of the things that helped Auburn in the win was a pre-game talk from a former Auburn great. In town to watch the game, Bo Jackson asked Tuberville if he could talk to the players before the game. After going around and giving the players some personal words early in the day, he came back and spoke to the team right before the game and Tuberville said that was very important for his team to hear about the rivalry from a legend like Jackson.
"It was great," Tuberville said. "He got up there and said ‘listen, I played in this game with broke ribs. I knew guys that played with broke legs so if something happens when you're out there you get back in the game. Don't even think about coming out. And usually the team that gets the first good lick in is going to win the game. You have to set the tempo.' It was an excellent talk. I ran through the wall. I actually ran through the door, it was locked."
That attitude fit perfectly with a game plan devised by coordinators Bobby Petrino on offense and Gene Chizik on defense. Spreading the field with a variety of formations and personnel packages on offense while mixing up a variety of blitzes on defense, Tuberville said Auburn wanted to be the aggressor Saturday and were able to do just that and put Alabama on the defensive.
"We felt like we were going to have to be on the offensive most of the time," Tuberville said. "They're the ones that had seven fourth downs. I've never heard of that, even me. What did they get two of them."
When Auburn gave up 426 yards rushing to Arkansas in a 38-17 loss on Oct. 12 things appeared bad on the surface for a defense that had trouble playing physical football teams. Looking deep at the problems the injuries to Spencer Johnson, Reggie Torbor, Jay Ratliff and Dontarrious Thomas were a major reason for Auburn's ineptitude on defense that day. With the players becoming healthier and healthier and the entire defense becoming more familiar with the system, the Tigers have been a better group each week and that was punctuated with Saturday's fantastic performance.
"We were learning and we weren't making any progress because we were having so many injuries," Tuberville said. "Once we started getting everybody back we started clicking pretty good. This defense is not easy to learn but they started picking up on it just about after the Florida game."
The Tigers will take some time off before returning to the practice field December 13 to begin preparations for a postseason bowl berth. Right now it appears Auburn will head to the Outback, Cotton, Citrus or Music City Bowl for the holidays but the exact destination won't be known until the SEC Championship game on Dec. 7.