Following the physical showdown with LSU, Tommy Tuberville and his coaching staff lightened up on practice last Tuesday. This week the Tigers had their normally physical session that the head coach and players called a good workout.
"It was a really good practice," junior quarterback Chris Todd said, a point agreed on by freshman linebacker Spencer Pybus. "It was like our normal Tuesday practices," Pybus said. "It was pretty physical."
The Tigers are preparing for their second road game of the year. They will face 19th-ranked Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. in Nashville at soldout Vanderbilt Stadium.
Tuberville noted that linebacker Tray Blackmon, who missed the victory over Tennessee, practiced on Tuesday and could see action vs. the Commodores. However, his backup, sophomore Josh Bynes, played well and showed his leadership skills and there is a good chance he will start again this week. Tuberville noted that Bynes "took command" of the defense.
"That is not really a problem at all getting people lined up and play calling because in high school I had to do the same thing so being a general on defense is not new for me," Bynes said.
The sophomore led Auburn in tackles last Saturday with six solos and five assists. Tuberville noted that even though Bynes played well, he can do better. Bynes agreed.
"I think I did a lot better in the second half," the linebacker said. "The first half, the first time I started, I was anxious being out there and just flying around. The second half I got more settled and I think the defense came a lot closer together and we just dominated the second half against Tennessee."
Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said he liked what he saw from Bynes. He said who starts vs. Vanderbilt at middle linebacker will depend on how they perform in practice. With Blackmon wearing a protective cast to cover a cracked bone in his wrist, how effective he is in practice will determine on much he plays vs. the Commodores, Rhoads noted.
In other news and notes:
*Senior tailbacks Brad Lester and Tristan Davis practiced on Tuesday and could be ready to see action vs. the Commodores. Lester missed the Tennessee game with a knee sprain. Davis was out with a concussion.
*Vandy, which is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC, will be trying to win a third consecutive SEC game for the first time since 1982. The Commodores last got off to a 5-0 start in 1943, but there were no SEC opponents on that schedule with college football disrupted that season by World War II. Despite Auburn not losing to the Commodores since 1955, junior tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said the Tigers have respect for the Commodores. "Obviously they are playing well and any time you play an SEC team on the road you have to be ready," he noted.
*Vandy, which is ranked for the first time since 1984, has been in the Top 25 in just 10 seasons. Its highest climb in the AP poll was in 1937 when the Commodores moved up to seventh.
*Auburn will return to practice on Wednesday evening for its third practice of the week in preparing for Coach Bobby Johnson's Commodores.