AU Puts The Wraps On Plans For LSU

Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about his team as it prepares to face LSU in a Top 10 battle Saturday night.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers wrapped up preparations for the LSU game this weekend with a practice that lasted just over an hour Thursday morning. Workout out in shells, coach Tommy Tuberville said the focus this week has been on correcting mistakes and improving heading into the biggest game of the season to this point.

"The offense looked good," Tuberville said. "The main thing is to keep our concentration and cut back on the penalties. We've got to get better on first down. That's obvious. We've got to get in a few more short yardage situations.

"It's been very good this week," he added. "Both quarterbacks (Chris Todd and Kodi Burns) have practiced and both have practiced well. Brad Lester went full speed today. He'll play this week. Getting hit hard for the first time you never know but he said he has no problem. We're going to leave that up to him. The doctors have cleared him."

In addition to the work on offense from the quarterbacks and getting Lester back on the field, the offense has continued to correct the mistakes made in last week's game at Mississippi State. Perhaps the most glaring of those came on the offensive line where Tuberville said they've focused things.

"Hugh Nall has worked very hard on the mistakes they made last week," Tuberville said. "We can't continue to make those. Most of them are mental. The one thing we did do last week is we played hard. I think sometimes when you play hard and you want to play maybe harder then you push yourself too much and lose that concentration. We want to stay under control this week and continue to try to play as hard as we've been playing."

Staying under control may be the theme on special teams this week as Auburn prepares to face one of the country's top return men in LSU's Trindon Holliday. This season he has returned four punts for 163 yards with a 92-yard touchdown. He has also returned two kickoffs for 48 yards. Tuberville said they'll have to be watchful of Holliday Saturday night.

"We spent a lot of time on the kicking game," Tuberville said. "We're playing one of the better returners in the country. In my lifetime of watching guys return he's about as elusive. It's not anything special. You work on coverage knowing the ball is going to get in his hands no matter what you do. You've got to challenge him and get down the field and use your technique and fundamentals."

Another area of concern for Auburn this week has been with kicker Wes Byrum. Last week Byrum missed two field goals and also kicked a free kick out of bounds in the win. Tuberville said it has been a matter of focusing on the little things this week for Byrum.

"We've got to get our field goal guy back going," Tuberville said. "We've got to get him some confidence. He's kicked well this week. He's worked on his fundamentals and trying to get back hitting the ball solid. He hasn't hit it real solid in the last couple of games."

Auburn will now have until Saturday night as basically time to recover and get ready for the game. Following a long preseason and a physical game last week against Mississippi State, Tuberville said the plan now is to rest as much as possible to have a fresh team come 6:45 Saturday night.

"We've gone a little bit shorter this week in terms of running around," Tuberville said. "We're trying to get their legs back. Talking to them today they felt real good. Now with basically more than 48 hours left until game time we've got a chance to be 100 percent.

"It has been a good week of preparation knowing we're playing a good football team," he added. "We're playing a good football team and it should be a great atmosphere. It has been one of those weeks where you didn't have to talk about picking it up. They know the sense of urgency and how this game is usually played and it's going to be four quarters."

Kickoff for the LSU game is scheduled for 6:45 p.m and can be seen nationally on ESPN. Fans in town can also check out ESPN Gameday which will be located on the Southeast side of the stadium at the corner of Roosevelt and Duncan Drive, in the Allison Physics Lab lawn. ESPN GameDay will air live on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 9-11 a.m. CT. There will also be live and taped segments on Friday, Sept. 19 from 3-4:30 p.m. and SportsCenter segments live at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. Auburn fans are encouraged to attend at both days.

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