Tuberville Talks Changes; Thursday Practice

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the changes on offense for the Tigers and how the players have responded in practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Thursday started a new chapter for the 2008 Auburn Tigers as the first day in the post Tony Franklin era as offensive coordinator took place. Practicing for around two hours in shells, coach Tommy Tuberville said the day was a good one for his team as it prepares for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

"Today we had a very good and enthusiastic practice," Tuberville said. "Our guys are excited about getting back on the field after last week's game in which we didn't play that well. Obviously a little controversy and as the head coach you are concerned about it but today's practice went well.

"We've got a good gameplan," he added. "We worked on every phase again today. We went a little longer for obvious reasons but the guys were into it. There are a lot of things we had to catch up with. We worked a long, long time on special teams today. Today we tried to cover all bases. We'll actually have a little bit more of a practice tomorrow in terms of a walk through. Considering the circumstances I think the mentality of the team is great. They understand the challenges they have in front of them."

On the injury front the Tigers are still banged up with Tuberville saying only Jerraud Powers is definitely out against Arkansas because of his strained hamstring. Wide receiver Robert Dunn was back at practice and running around. Tuberville noted they'll have to see how much and how effective he can cut on the ankle before he'll be ready. Sen'Derrick Marks will also likely be a game time decision after suffering a sprained ankle against Vanderbilt. Linebacker Craig Stevens and defensive end Michael Goggans have both been bothered by ankle injuries but have practiced this week and are expected to be ready.

Tuberville also answered the question of who was going to be Auburn's offensive coordinator now that Franklin is gone. The new quarterback coach Steve Ensminger will be their version of an offensive coordinator but Tuberville said everyone will have a role including himself.

"I'm taking a larger role in the offense," Tuberville said. "We will not do anything offensive coordinator wise until the end of the year. Steve Ensminger and I have set down and talked a lot about responsibilities. He will be in the box. He and I will converse about plays. He will be in charge of the offense in terms of calling plays. Coach (Hugh) Nall, coach (Eddie) Gran and coach (Greg) Knox will be on the field."

One thing that Tuberville cleared up was that right now they are not considering bringing in a consultant to work with the offense. He also added that no one from the current staff would be considered for a permanent job as coordinator after this season.

Continuing to run the no-huddle spread as well as mix in some plays from under center, Tuberville said the offense is not going to be much different scheme-wise from what they've shown this season. He said the difference is they want to get everyone on the same page in order to help them be successful.

"The thing we want to do is make everything positive," Tuberville said. "Do everything to the point where our guys understand what they've got to do and how they've got to do it and play as a team, not just as an offense. Offense, defense and special teams play together and go out and focus and have fun. That's been our talk the last 36 hours.

"We ran 50 percent of the spread last year so we're not changing anything," he added. "The difference in what we were doing last year and what we ran the last few weeks is the tempo. We want to keep all of it. We think all of it is good. What I want to do over the next few weeks after this game is go back and simplify a little bit of it and try to do as much as your players can handle."

With basically just two days to work on any changes for the upcoming game, Tuberville said they're not really going into this game much different on offense than they've been in the first six games. He added they've just got to find a way to do what they do best and keep improving.

"Tony did a good job," Tuberville said. "He knew the offense and he taught these guys well. We're going to continue on. I think it's an offense that can help. As we've all seen the last few weeks we've tweaked it. That was his decision to do that. Some of it worked and some of it didn't. We always change and make adjustments and we'll continue to do that for the next six weeks and the next six years. That's what you do on offense. You've got to base out of something and we base out of running the ball and throwing the ball. Basically that's what it comes down to."

Auburn will have a short walk through on Friday to put the finishing touches on the gameplan for Arkansas. Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 4 p.m. and is available on Pay Per View in the states of Alabama and Arkansas.

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