Tuberville, Coordinators Comment on Practice

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Tuberville is hoping to add more pep to the steps of his Auburn football team this week by pulling back on the intensity level.

Following a 2 1/2-hour practice in full pads on Sunday night, the Auburn head football coach said the Tigers will practice in shorts the rest of the week starting with their Tuesday morning workout following their traditional game-week Monday off.

The head coach gave the Tigers the day off on Saturday before returning to the practice field on Sunday evening. "Back from a 36-hour vacation, we looked a little fresher today, but they're still a little tired," he said. "They get tomorrow off, which will help. I thought they handled it well. It was a pretty good day to take off with the weather the way it is."

The Tigers practiced on their outdoor artificial turf field after the Auburn area got soaked on Saturday and Sunday morning by tropical depression Fay.

"We went against each other (first offense vs. first defense, second offense vs. second defense) quite a long time today--a lot of plays, more than we normally would," Tuberville said. "We needed some type of simulation with game atmosphere with down and distance. Both teams got after it pretty good."

Linebacker Chris Evans agreed with the head coach. "I thought it was a good practice and I think we are going to be ready to play a game on Saturday," the senior said.

Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said he was concerned that the Tigers would come back sluggish for Sunday's practice, but noted overall he generally liked what he saw, particularly later in the practice. "We had a good day from the standpoint that they came back ready to work," he said. "We really didn't have to re-coach things, so to speak, meaning a 19, 20 or 21-year-old's mind wanders a little bit when you give them a day off. They can come back and forget things, but we didn't have to do that with them, but when you give them a day off it takes a minute to knock some, not really rust, from being off.

"IT took us a little bit to do that today," he adds. "It is good that we still have Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's worth of work left."

Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had no news to report Sunday night on who the starting QB will be. He said expect both Kodi Burns and Chris Todd to play in the opener.

In other news:

*Tuberville said he met with the seniors, as he normally does on Sundays of game weeks, and then met with the whole team to go over new rules in college football and had the team watch videos about sportsmanship.

*Junior wide receiver Montez Billings is doubtful for the opener with a hamstring problem, Tuberville noted. That could affect the playing status of true freshmen receivers Darvin Adams and Derek Winters. Another true freshman receiver, Philip Pierre-Louis, is expected to play.

*Juco transfer defensive end Raven Gray "is really struggling," Tuberville said. He has yet to fully recover from offseason knee surgery and it is questionable whether or not he will play on Saturday night vs. Louisiana-Monroe. "We want to try to get him 100 percent," Tuberville said, adding, "He is not in the two-deep rotation."

*With Gray hurt at strongside end, Gabe McKenzie is expected to see action as a backup to Michael Goggans. Another player at that position, redshirt freshman A.J. Green, has been "up and down" in practice, according to the head coach.

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