Tigers Tune At Thursday Workout

A report on Auburn's football practice is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers wrapped up their on-the-field preparations with a light workout on Thursday in shorts and helmets doing a tune-up for Saturday's SEC opener vs. Mississippi State.

The Tigers and Bulldogs bring 1-0 records into the game that will kick off at 6:05 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net South.

Auburn worked on special teams play and the offense and defense drilled against their scout teams in the session that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

"They have great energy and new energy," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said of the Bulldogs, who opened the season with a 45-7 home win vs. outmatched and turnover-plagued Jackson State from the SWAC for new head coach Dan Mullen.

"Dan Mullen did a great job at Florida last year. His offense gives a lot of things to work on, and on defense they are always flying around," Chizik said.

"They are a good team with a lot of talent," Chizik added. "They had a great win Saturday. They played real hard and with a lot of energy for Coach Mullen so we have our work cut out for us."

Chizik said he still isn't sure if sophomore linebacker Eltoro Freeman will play on Saturday. He missed the opener with a hamstring problem. Chizik said on Thursday night he hopes that Freeman will be ready to play, but said there is still concern that if he isn't full speed he could be re-injured if he hits the field too soon.

Eltoro Freeman is a redshirt sophomore.

Auburn opened the season with a 37-13 victory over Louisiana Tech last Saturday with the Tigers racking up 556 yards of total offense. That was a welcome sight to defensive players like junior linebacker Craig Stevens, who watched the Tigers struggle trying to score points last season.

"We feel like now this year we have more of an offense that can make the other team pay for us getting stops," Stevens says.

Last year against Mississippi State, Auburn won 3-2 in Starkville in a much-discussed game in which the defenses dominated. The Tigers' defense allowed Mississippi State only 38 rushing yards and 78 through the air. The only points for the Bulldogs came when Auburn offensive lineman Ryan Pugh was penalized for holding in the end zone, by rule a safety worth two points for the defensive team.

Auburn's offense moved the ball better with 161 yards on the ground and 154 through the air last year, but three lost fumbles were a major issue for the Tigers.

While it might have been stressful for fans to watch, Stevens says he enjoyed the low scoring game in Starkville. "It was a fight the whole game, but the defense we just went out confident every series. We never lost our poise or anything."

The game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net South, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Houston (Louisiana) and Fox Sports West.

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