Tigers Upbeat After Tuesday Practice

A report on Auburn's Tuesday football practice features notes and quotes.

Auburn, Ala.--After having an extra day off from practice the Auburn football Tigers returned to work on Tuesday evening for their first on-the-field session in preparation for Saturday's home game vs. Ole Miss.

The Tigers worked for two hours in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads and got a break from the heavy rain that soaked the area earlier in the day.

Players on both offense and defense said they thought the extra time off was a positive. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn agreed with their assessments. "I think they had a little extra step," he said. "They looked a little quicker. They looked a little fresher and I think their mind was a little fresher, too."

Senior tight end Tommy Trott said he has hope his team can get its three-game losing streak snapped this week even though Ole Miss has a good team. "We had such a promising start and these last three games have been nothing short of disappointing, but I still feel that we can. We are a talented bunch."

Trott noted that defensive teams have been adjusting to what Auburn was successful doing offensively. Commenting on Malzahn's offense, Trott said, "It is tough to prepare for. People are starting to get film on it and starting to see some of our tendencies and things like that, but that is something we are definitely correcting.

"Coach Malzahn does more self-scouting sometimes than a lot of other coaches would do," Trott said. "He knows our tendencies. We realize what other teams are expecting us to do out of certain formations and things like that. I trust him and I trust this offensive group to get things going in the right direction."

The senior tight end said that the feeling on this year's team is very different than last year when the Tigers played poorly down the stretch. "Last year there was just a sense we self-imploded,"?he said. "You could feel it at practice, you could just feel it walking into the building. It felt like we were done even as hard as we tried to get going again it just wasn't there.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm at practice today," Trott added. "I don't think it is near the same as last year. I don't think anybody is really saying here we go again. We realize, especially as an offense, this isn't here we go again. We are a whole lot better offense than we were last year.

"We have already done things against a Tennessee defense that has just been shutting people down since and against a West Virginia team that hasn't lost since they played us,"?Trott pointed out. "We have played good football and we have more good football in us. We have just got to get things going again. We have got to start making some big plays down the field and things like that. It will really open up the offense and getting us rolling again.

"Those big plays can be contagious," he said. "You hear people saying that but you don't realize how true that is until they quit happening."

Junior linebacker Josh Bynes said he could notice a difference in the quickness of the defense with an extra day to rest and recover after Saturday night's loss to LSU. "Everybody got out there and we were physical," Bynes said. "We started out a little slow, but things picked up and we finished real strong.

"I think it was a good idea to have the extra day off and get our legs back a little bit," Bynes added.

Talking about the team's attitude, Bynes said, "It is devastating to lose three games in a row in the SEC, but we are worried about one game at a time and we looking forward to this home game, being with our crowd and finding a way to get a victory."

Senior cornerback Walt McFadden said he liked what he saw on Tuesday evening. "The team is focused. Today's practice went very well. We are all excited, jumping around."

He said the Tigers want to get a win this weekend "to get some of these frowns off people's faces and make them smile again and let them know we are still here."

McFadden said the defense on stopping the run in Tuesday's session and said the Tigers practiced with "urgency" on Tuesday.

In other news and notes:

Kickoff is set for 11:21 a.m. and the game will be televised regionally on the SEC Network. Ole Miss, which is 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, has its best record after seven games since 2003.

*Malzahn said he is pleased with how tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen is developing and said the freshman could see more extensive playing time in the coming weeks.

*Auburn is second in the SEC in total offense this week and 11th in defense. The Tigers are averaging 430.9 yards per game, which is 17th nationally, and are giving up 368.6 yards per game, which is 74th nationally.

*Ole Miss is fifth in the SEC and 51st in the nation in total offense averaging 392.1 yards and is fifth in the SEC and 20th nationally in total defense allowing 300 yards per contest.

*The Tigers continue to struggle with their returns. Auburn is 11th in the SEC in kickoff returns (21.2 average) and 11th in punt returns at 3.8 yards per return.

*In last year's Ole Miss game, the Rebels won 17-7 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium despite a career-high 319 passing yards by Kodi Burns. Zac Etheridge maybe 14 tackles vs. the Rebels while Antonio Coleman had 10 tackles and two sacks for the Tigers.


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