Last Tuesday the Tigers worked out in full pads and lined up the first offense vs. the first defense for a physical session. This week the workout was in shoulder pads, helmets and shorts following an unexpected and disappointing 21-14 loss to Kentucky last Saturday night.
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the team "had pretty good focus" at the practice. "Guys got after it,"?he said. "We just tried to get back to the basics correcting mistakes. Obviously, we made way too many in the fourth quarter and that probably cost us the game. We are just trying to correct that so it won't ever happen again."
Linebacker Josh Bynes said the defense made progress at Tuesday evening's session. "It was a great practice just like last week," he said. The junior added that the session was "fast, physical and we were just getting after it every play."
He noted that the first team defense got to work out against the second team offensive line, which was given the assignment of giving the AU first team defense a look at the plays the Tigers expect LSU to run on Saturday night.
"Going against like our second team offensive line, putting the big guys out there and going against them in a lot of the drills is very good for us, especially going into games," said Bynes who noted that those scholarship linemen give the defense a lot better look than the scout team walk-ons can.
After struggling in the passing game the past two weeks, head coach Gene Chizik said getting that part of the offense back in sync is essential if the Tigers are going to have success the rest of the season. Malzahn said getting that done is a high priority.
"A lot of it has to do with execution," the offensive coordinator said. "We missed some opportunities in the last two games. A lot of it has to do with us playing pretty good defenses who make us earn it. The guys aren't quite as open as they were early in the season and we have got to earn it. We have to be more specific on our timing routes."
Malzahn said that quarterback Chris Todd needs to play better, but added, "A lot of times, too, people think the quarterback is not playing well, but there are a lot of variables. There are 11 guys out and there. It starts with protections, then it goes to your routes and then to your checkdowns...I think it is a total team deal that we need to correct all of the little things."
Commenting on Todd's throwing arm, which has been discussed this week after he struggled with some of his throws vs. Kentucky, Malzahn said, "I think Chris Todd is fine. I think any quarterback in the country in week eight who has thrown a little bit is going to have it a little bit different than they did the first game. I think he is no different than anybody else." The coach added that Todd looked "pretty good" throwing the ball on Tuesday.
In other news:
*The offense struggled with penalties vs. Kentucky so the coaches put the offensive players through "up-down drills" on Tuesday evening. Malzahn said the problem on offense was lack of discipline. "That starts with me. I?have got to make sure it never happens again and we are going to do that. It was undisciplined in the fourth quarter. We are going to do better, I'll tell you that."
*Offensive tackle Lee Ziemba said he thinks the offense is not far away from being able to put up big numbers again if the group can reduce mistakes and said the Tigers are taking the attitude they can bounce back this week with a win at ninth-ranked LSU.
Lee Ziemba is a three-year starter at tackle or the Tigers.
*Saturday's game will kick off shortly after 6:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2 with Mark Jones and Bob Davie calling the action from Tiger Stadium.
*Saturday's game will be the 44th time that Auburn and LSU have played in football. LSU leads the series 23-19-1. The Bayou Bengals have a 13-5-1 record vs. Auburn in games played in Baton Rouge.
*Auburn's top receivers this year, Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery, have combined to total 47 receptions for 797 yards and nine touchdowns. Last year the two combined for five catches for 42 yards with no touchdowns.
*LSU receiver Trindon Holliday, the fastest football player in the country, has not been a big threat in the passing game so far this season. He has just one catch for four yards. He is averaging 25.7 yards per kickoff return and 8.5 yards per punt return on 10 attempts. Another LSU punt returner, Chad Jones, is averaging 24.2 yards on five attempts with one going for a score.
*LSU head coach Les Miles has a 3-1 record vs. Auburn and he is 47-12 at LSU.