Tigers Head Inside for Final Practice

A report on Thursday's Auburn practice features comments from a pair of coaches.

Auburn, Ala.--Heavy rains sent the Auburn Tigers into their indoor facility on Thursday evening in the final day of practice for Saturday's SEC home game vs. the Kentucky Wildcats.

Head coach Gene Chizik said he thought the Tigers had their best week of practice in the past month and said he was "proud" of how his football team responded after suffering its first loss of the season. For Thursday's session, the offense and defense had separate practices at the indoor facility.

Auburn will be looking for a 16th consecutive win in its series vs. the Wildcats, but Auburn coaches like assistant Tommy Thigpen are warning that it won't be easy. Thigpen and other Auburn defensive coaches note they are impressed with UK standout Randall Cobb, who could be taking over as the No. 1 quarterback to replace injured starter Mike Hartline.

"They've got a great athlete in the Cobb kid," Thigpen said. "He creates a lot of problems for people. You wish he just played wide receiver because when the ball is direct-snapped into his hands, he went down on South Carolina in two or three plays and scored on them.

"(Cobb) at quarterback creates a whole different dilemma for us," Thigpen said. "You have to prepare for the things he's done before as well as what they've done in the past with their regular quarterback situation. It's like preparing for an option team. You prepare for one thing, but you've got to prepare for another one and another one and another one. I think we have a good game plan in store for it."

Coach Tommy Thigpen

Thigpen said he likes what he has seen of the Tigers at practice this week. "It has been a significant difference," Thigpen said. "They are more focused than I've ever seen them. This week has been, since I've been here, the best practices we've had as far as guys understanding and fitting plays right. This has really been a good week for us"

The coach said the challenge now is to take the intensity from the practice field into the game on Saturday night.

Thigpen, who is coaching true freshman starter Daren Bates, said he is continuing to push the safety to improve. "My challenge to Daren is that we should get better every single week," Thigpen said. "We can't go up and then down.

"My challenge to him is that if you want to be a great player in this conference you can't have a good game one game and then let off the next," the coach added. "To me that's part of being an 18-year old more than anything else and losing focus. My challenge to that young man is to prepare and watch film every week like he did the first week."

Thigpen is hoping to get 2008 starter Mike McNeil into a game before long. McNeil suffered a broken bone in his leg in the summer. The coach said that McNeil, a junior, has made good progress in recent weeks.

In other news and notes" *

*Senior cornerback Walt McFadden is questionable for Saturday night's game with a knee sprain. If he doesn't star, junior Demond Washington is expected to fill in his spot.

*Tickets are still available for the game that kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CDT. It will be televised on ESPNU with Eric Collins and Brock Huard calling the action.

*Auburn's coaches have talked to their team about getting off to a strong start this week after struggling early at Arkansas last week.The Wildcats, who are 2-3 overall and 0-3 in the SEC, have struggled in the first quarter of games this year being outscored 52-19 in the first period.

The Wildcats are doing much better in the second quarter, outscoring foes 49-21. In the third quarter UK has been outscored 33-24 and in the fourth period Kentucky has a 34-28 edge in points scored.

*If Ben Tate rushes for 128 yards, he will move into fifth place in Auburn history for career rushing yards. The senior is leading the SEC with his average of 120.7 yards per contest and has 2,683 yards, which is eighth in school history. Seventh on the list is Ronnie Brown with 2,707 yards. Brent Fullwood is sixth with 2,789 and Stephen Davis is fifth with 2,811.

*Kickoff time for the Homecoming game vs. Furman on Nov. 7th has been set for 12:30 p.m. and it will be televised on a pay-per-view basis.

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