Tigers Turn Their Attention to Season Opener

Auburn's head football coach discusses his team following Tuesday's practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn began its back-to-school schedule with a Tuesday morning practice in full pads that was mainly a teaching session as the first offense and first defense worked against the special teams.

Coach Tommy Tuberville said about half of the practice was devoted to working on fundamentals and the other half was preparation for the August 30th season opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe. The AU coach noted the Tigers spent about 20 minutes with the first offense working against the first defense.

The Tigers will practice again on Wednesday afternoon and will return to practice after that on Thursday morning.

One of the new starters for 2008, guard Byron Isom, says he is excited that the season opener is drawing nearer. "I think we have a chance to be good on offense this year," he says. "We have a really up-tempo offense and I think we will have a chance to score a lot of points this year."

With new offensive coordinator Tony Franklin's fast-paced style of play, Isom says to expect to see more subs in the game on the offensive line than in previous seasons.

In other news:

*Tuberville said he may move his Tuesday and Thursday morning practices to earlier in the day to avoid conflicts with players who have classes around lunch.

*The Tigers are scheduled to practice through Friday before taking Saturday off and beginning game-week preparations on Sunday.

*Tailbacks Brad Lester and Tristan Davis, who missed the scrimmage on Saturday with what Tuberville said were minor injuries, missed the Tuesday practice.

*Offensive lineman Bart Eddins, who plays both guard and tackle, has still not been cleared to practice. Eddins, who is recovering from a shoulder problem, may not be ready to play in the opener.

*Commenting on the decision to let tight end Gabe McKenzie work on defense at end this week with the possibility of playing both ways, Tuberville said he can't remember the last time he had a player see extensive action on both sides of the ball in the same game. He noted that McKenzie was a good defensive player in high school who was a two-way standout so this experiment is something that the junior has done before.

"He looked very good in pass rush today," said Tuberville, who noted that McKenzie could play defense in game one if he shows in practice this week he is ready to do that. "I think this is a great move for him," Tuberville added.

*Another player who made a position move this week, Darrell Roseman, looked good in practice in his first day as an offensive guard, according to projected starting guard, Byron Isom. Isom himself made the move from the defensive line to the offensive line.

*Freshman defensive end Jomarcus Savage, who has been sidelined with a shoulder problem, will probably not redshirt this season, Tuberville said. Savage hurt his shoulder in the scrimmage on Saturday, but is expected back in action soon.

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