No Coasting For Tigers Heading Into Game Week

Auburn's Tommy Tuberville updates his team's progress following the off week heading into the West Virginia game.

Auburn, Ala.--Following a much needed off week last week, the Auburn Tigers get back to work on Sunday with what Tommy Tuberville describes as one of the longest practices of the year. Focusing on polishing up the gameplan for Thursday night's game at West Virginia, Tuberville says he was pleased with how his team approached last week heading into the second half of the schedule.

"It was a real good week of practice," Tuberville says. "It was a lot better than most open dates where everybody is kind of coasting through it. You couldn't coast through that one. We had to get better. We did a lot of contact and went against each other quite a bit. We'll do the same thing today. This will be one of the longest practices that we've had all year."

Offensively the focus for the team has been improvement. That was particularly apparent last week in the three practices the Tigers had. Tuberville says now that the team is honed in on the gameplan for West Virginia they'll get a better feel for how much the team has progressed heading into game week.

"It went good," Tuberville says. "We had good practices. I thought the mentality of the players was much better than I would have expected after two losses. We just had not gotten a lot done. They know they've got to get much better on offense. We can't keep playing close games, we say we can't but we've done it the last two years.

"The biggest and most important thing is to be more consistent on offense," he adds. "If we get everybody back, we were obviously beat up on defense but a lot of the guys playing on offense weren't full speed. We just had a senior meeting that was very good and the team meeting was very good. They are excited about playing on Thursday. They know the challenge they've got in front of them."

The continuing story on offense is at the quarterback position where Kodi Burns is the starter heading into the West Virginia game. With Chris Todd on the shelf because of a sore shoulder, the backup role is up for grabs between Neil Caudle and Barrett Trotter. Tuberville says at the moment no decision has been made because they need to see more practice to make sure the coaches make the best choice for the team.

"It didn't go as well as I would have hoped in terms of mistakes and stuff from all of them," Tuberville says. "We need another day of looking at all of them. We need another day of looking at all of them and kind of figuring out who can do what."

As for the possibility of burning Trotter's redshirt in the eighth game of the year Tuberville says that's still something they are considering and he notes it would be worth it if they did. Even though he won't be the starter, Tuberville says if they decide to use he or Caudle it will be in a role that is designed to give the offense some spark without overloading them.

"It just depends," Tuberville says. "Kodi is our guy and we're going to go with him. He's going to get a little better every time he plays. We're not going to take him out if he's having problems to just take him out, it will probably be like when he went in for Brandon. It will be for certain plays because young guys, whoever plays the other role is not going to know it all. You can't expect them to. They'll know an abbreviated version."

On the injury front Tuberville says that Jerraud Powers is doing much better and has a chance to play against the Mountaineers. He notes that he is not going to play him if he's not full speed because of the chance he could lose him for the rest of the year. Defensive end Antonio Coleman has been banged up as has defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and Coleman‘s backup Antoine Carter. Tuberville says while he's seen some improvements on the injury front he'll have a much better gauge of Auburn's health following Sunday's practice.

"I'll know a lot more after today, after we go out there," Tuberville says. "If you're going to play in this game you're going to practice today."

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