Tigers Have Physical Sunday Practice

Auburn had a longer and more physical Sunday practice as the Tigers prepare for Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Getting back to work following another humbling loss, this time to West Virginia, the Auburn Tigers practiced for almost two hours in full pads Sunday afternoon. Coach Tommy Tuberville said the day was a good one for his team as they get ready for Ole Miss on Saturday.

"Obviously we've got a lot to work on but the guys came out with a good attitude," Tuberville said. "They've got to have a lot of pride in what they are doing now. The thing we want to do is get better every day in practice and get better every week. We're a much better team in a lot of areas than we were two weeks ago.

"We've just got to keep working on those things and try to get better and be able to finish a game. We're a pretty good football team for a half but for some reason after a half we kind of go downhill."

Getting physical, the Tigers worked the one offense against the one defense for a large portion of the practice. With the spread offense of Tony Franklin the Tigers did less work against each other, something that has changed in the last 10 days. Tuberville said that continued on Sunday.

"It was good today," Tuberville said. "We went against each other pretty much like a scrimmage in all situations, short yardage, long yardage, blitz period, inside drill. We did a lot of kicking. We're just trying to get better at the little things. We made way too many mistakes on defense Thursday, alignment and fundamentals."

After missing several tackles and giving up a ton of rushing yards to West Virginia, defensive line coach Don Dunn said the Tigers got back to basics defensively on Sunday.

"We had a great practice today," Dunn said. "The kids came out and worked hard. We worked on some things we felt like we needed to, some fundamentals and techniques, tackling, getting off blocks, things we didn't do well in the second half the other night. I thought it was a good practice.

"We had good enthusiasm and a lot of spirit," he added. "There was a lot of hitting. We did some one-on-ones and good-on-good, which we had not done a lot of this year."

Up front Tuberville said the Tigers will likely continue the move of Jason Bosley back to center with Ryan Pugh at right tackle. He said the communication problems and the flow of the offense was better with Bosley back in the middle because of his experience. He also noted that Mike Berry will remain the starter at right guard for the moment even with Byron Isom back after missing the WVU game because of a concussion.

Part of Sunday's practice was spent working on special teams with the kicking game a major focus. Tuberville said they gave a look at some new possibilities at kicker with sophomore Wes Byrum struggling and will continue that throughout the week.

"We looked at three kickers today," Tuberville said. "Wesley kicked, (Morgan) Hull kicked and also Clinton Durst. We're going to throw him into the mix. We've got to start making field goals. It's come to a point now where someone has to step up and do it.

Auburn's starting punter this season, Durst is being given a look as a kicker because of his background as a soccer player. Tuberville said they'll just so how he responds this week before making a decision on who the kicker will be on Saturday.

"He's messed around with it," Tuberville said. "He hasn't done a whole lot. Just talking with all of them he's pretty much a natural punting the ball and kicking off. He's had a bum leg most of the year but it has gotten better where we feel like we can kick him. He did good today. He was 2-3. I think Wes was 3-3 and Hull was 2-3. We'll put pressure on them all week long with some live rush. That's another area where it's all about fundamentals and we're not fundamentally sound right now."

On the injury front the Tigers are still banged up with several guys out of Sunday's practice. Those include cornerbacks Jerraud Powers (hamstring) and Neiko Thorpe (ankle), both of which were at practice but didn't practice much according to Tuberville. Mario Fannin was back practicing and ready to go said Tuberville after getting his leg twisted Thursday night.

The Tigers will take their normal Monday off before returning to the practice field Tuesday morning.


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