Monday is normally a day off for the Tigers in football season, but with the Tigers taking Friday and Saturday off they were on the practice field in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts preparing for the Mountaineers.
Tommy Tuberville's team will hit the practice field again on Tuesday before catching a flight to Pittsburgh on Wednesday prior to Thursday night's nationally televised game at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.
The Auburn head coach is still not saying who the number two quarterback will be for the West Virginia game. Kodi Burns, the sophomore who has started two times this year, will open at QB vs. the Mountaineers.
On Monday evening following practice, the coaches had food sent for a late night at the office as they studied video of the practice and continued to tweak the game plan for the 4-2 Mountaineers out of the Big East Conference.
Both teams were off last Saturday. Tuberville said his 4-3 Tigers definitely benefitted from some time away from the football field.
"We needed to mentally rest, just as much as physical," he said. "It's hard when every game we've been through has gone down to the last quarter, even the ones we won.
"After the Tennessee game, we felt like we had been run through a ringer so mentally everything that we went through with the players and the situation during the Arkansas week takes a toll. It was good to get away from everybody. Coaches get away and just get refreshed.
"It sets up pretty good now with the next five games," the coach added. "We have a little time between most games and I like the situation. Bottom line is that we have got to get better at what we're doing. We do have an identity now on offense, an offense we're going to run each week and every day in practice. We're going to rep and rep and rep, and we're going to get better at it. We have to help the defense out--that's the bottom line. If we can get to the level that the defense played early in the season, we'll be fine."
The Tigers are expected to be in better shape physically as they head to West Virginia than they were for their last game vs. Arkansas. Tailback Brad Lester, who has been battling a knee sprain suffered in game four vs. LSU, has had his best week of practice. Tuberville said he hopes the senior will be close to full speed on Thursday.
Another senior running back, Ben Tate, continues to try to get back to 100 percent as he rehabs a hamstring problem. He is expected to play this week vs. the Mountaineers.
Cornerback Jerraud Powers, who injured a hamstring in the first half of the Vandy game, is considered probable for this week's contest.
Thursday's game is scheduled to kick off at 6:45 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN with Rece Davis, Lou HOltz, Mark May and Erin Andrews calling the action.
West Virginia has been one of the more successful teams in Division I football in recent years winning 52 of its last 64 games. WVU's current seniors have a 37-7 record and are four wins shy of becoming the winngest senior class in school history.