Tigers "Jazzed" As Game Week Arrives

Comments from Coach Gene Chizik, Tommy Trott and Antonio Coleman are featured following Sunday night's Auburn football practice.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior Tommy Trott said on Sunday night that he can feel the excitement building as his Tigers began game week preparations for Saturday night's game vs. Louisiana Tech.

Trott and his Auburn football teammates practiced for approximately two hours in full pads brushing up their assignments for Louisiana Tech.

"They have a good team," said Trott, who will play tight end, H-back and at times line up as a wide receiver. "We know they beat Mississippi State last year so we realize this is not an easy opponent.

"Guys were jazzed up at practice," Trott noted. "Practice had a different feel."

The senior said he believes the offense will be significantly improved this season. He also noted the Tigers are spending a good bit of time getting ready for Louisiana Tech. "The coaches have really prepared us," he said. "We are really going through what Louisiana Tech will be doing. We have watched a whole lot of film."

Another senior, defensive end Antonio Coleman, said he is ready to strap on the pads and play a football game. "It has been a long time coming," he pointed out. "Since that last loss to Alabama, it has been nothing but a lot of hard work for the last eight months. Hopefully, it will pay off Saturday.

Antonio Coleman

Like Trott, Coleman said he has respect for the opening night opening opponent. "They have got a good football team," he said. "You just can't roll out your helmet out there and beat them just because you are Auburn...Most people underestimate them, but they are really a good team."

Saturday night's season opener (September 5th) is the latest start to a season for the Tigers since they lost at Ole Miss in 1992.

With the new SEC television contract, most games are expected to be played under the lights. The Tigers are 15-3 in this decade when playing home night games with four of those victories over Top 25 opponents

Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers will open with a team coached by a familiar name to Auburn fans. Derek Dooley is the son of former Auburn two-sport athlete Vince Dooley, who was a quarterback for Auburn from 1951-53 and a guard on the basketball team.

Derek Dooley is beginning his third season as head coach in Ruston. He learned some of his coaching techniques from his father, Vince, who left a post as an assistant coach at Auburn to become head coach, and later athletic director at Georgia.

Tech wrapped up the 2008 season with a 17-10 victory over Northern Illinois to finish 8-5. Dooley welcomed back nine offensive starters and seven defensive starters.

Chizik told his players to be prepared for a tough test from Louisiana Tech after his team got a day off on Saturday.

Commenting on Sunday's practice under the lights, Chizik said, "Tonight was really kind of an upbeat practice, I thought, tempo-wise. Guys had a little bit more of a bounce in their step, as you would imagine, going into game week. We went full pads trying to get a little contact in. It was a good day, but the thing that stood out the most is I thought they had a lot of energy."

Commenting on Louisiana Tech, Chizik said, "I just think Coach Dooley has done a great job with them. They are really, really talented. They have got some great special teams players. If you look at their special teams, that certainly stands out, right at the top in how good they were really in every phase last year.

"But what they are is they are a very sound team," Chizik said. "They do everything that makes sense. They don't take a lot of chances...They play physical, they have a great scheme on defense that is very aggressive, very sound.

"Offensively, they do a lot of great things with throwing the ball and their offensive line is big, physical, so they run the ball much better. It is just a much improved team from over the past few years

In other news and notes:

*Chizik will be trying to improve on his 5-19 record as a head coach. That mark was compiled in his two seasons at Iowa State.

*Auburn head coaches are 16-8-1 all-time in their debut games with the Tigers.

*Auburn's all-time record in opening games is 89-25-2 and is on a three-game winning streak.

*Senior Ben Tate needs 41 yards rushing vs. Louisiana Tech to become the 13th player in Auburn history to run for at least 2,000 yards.

*Auburn leads the all-time series vs. Louisiana Tech 10-0-1. The last time the two teams played Auburn won 52-7 in 2004.

*Tech plays in the Western Athletic Conference. AU has a 14-0-1 record vs. current members of the WAC.

*Saturday night's game will be televised on ESPNU with Eric Collins doing the play-by-play with Brock Huard the analyst and Beth Mowins will be the sideline reporter.


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