Tigers Go Back to Work On Practice Field

A report on the Auburn football Tigers is feaured.

Auburn, Ala.--After taking Monday off the Auburn football team was back on the practice field drilling for two hours in preparation for its season opener vs. Louisiana Tech.

The Tigers worked out in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets as the offense worked against the scouts as did the defense. Just two more practices are left before the start of the Coach Gene Chizik Era at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and defensive coordinator Ted Roof both say Louisiana Tech a well-coached opponent.

Roof notes the defense is expecting to see a wide range of different offensive sets from the Bulldogs. He adds that Tech's star tailback, Daniel Porter, can make defenders miss in one-on-one situations. Porter rushed for 1,164 yards last year.

"They're very physical up front," Roof stated. "They're very experienced, and I expect them to be more physical than they were last year. Porter, the running back, makes a lot of people look real bad, and we have a lot of respect for him. And the receiver, (Phillip) Livas, is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball."

Malzahn says he expects to see a defense that will try to disguise its looks. He notes that Tech likes to bring its safeties up to the line of scrimmage to make it difficult for opponents to run against.

"They have a good front seven," Malzahn said. "They have two very experienced safeties that have done well for them. They're very sound, and you can tell they're well coached.

"They're kind of an eight-man front. They like to utilize their safeties to help with the run. They disguise things very well. They pick and choose times to come after you. They're going to make you earn it – that's kind of their forte. Last year they were very good against the run and they have a lot of those guys back."

Junior safety Zac Etheridge is one of the most experienced players in the Auburn starting lineup. He has been studying video of Louisiana Tech and says, "They are a pretty good team. They don't beat themselves. They are a basic team and they have some great playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. They offer a great challenge and that is something we are looking forward to."

Etheridge says after struggling to a 5-7 mark, the Tigers need to play well on opening night to set the tone for a new season. "We definitely need to win," he says. "With the new coaching staff, and everything being new, if we don't win it is going to be hard for us going into the second week facing an SEC school. I definitely think we have put in work so we can get that win."

The returning starter says a theme on defense is forcing turnovers. "Our thing this year is getting the ball back to our offense," he says. "That is something we have been harping on since Coach Roof (defensive coordinator Ted Roof).

In other news:

*Senior cornerback Walt McFadden has praise for freshman safety Daren Bates, who is scheduled to start in the opener. McFadden says the physical freshman reminds him of former Tiger safety Junior Rosegreen. "He is a big-time hitter," McFadden says.

*The Tigers have three players on their roster from the state of Louisiana and Louisiana Tech has two from the state of Alabama. Wide receivers DeAngelo Benton and Travante Stallworth plus walk-on linebacker Ashton Richardson are from the Pelican state. Senior offensive lineman Rudy Odom was on the 2009 team, but had to give up football due to medical problems. Tech players from Alabama include linebackers Adrien Cole and Solomon Randle from Mobile. Auburn did not recruit either player.

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