Tropical Storm Forces Football Tigers Indoors

A report on Tuesday's practice features comments from Antoine "Hot" Carter, Darvin Adams and Gus Malzahn.

Auburn, Ala.--An all-night rain followed by an all-day rain caused by tropical storm Ida drove the Auburn football team indoors for a Tuesday evening practice.

The offense and defense practiced separately, but they are expected to be able to return to their regular outdoor practice fields on Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said the Tigers were able to get a lot accomplished despite having to move indoors. "The only thing it kind of limits is your deep ball throwing. Of course, at this point in the year, being game 11, a lot of those things you are just trying to crisp up--your timing things and all of the little wrinkles."

The Tigers practiced on Sunday night and took the day off on Monday. The previous two weeks the team did not work out on either Sunday or Monday as head coach Gene Chizik tries to keep his squad as fresh as possible with Auburn's first off-week on the schedule not coming until next week.

"The guys had really good focus," Malzahn said of Tuesday's practice. "You can tell it is a big week. Our guys practiced well."

One of the players the offensive coordinator said he has been particularly pleased with, wide receiver Darvin Adams, agreed with the coach about Tuesday evening's practice. Malzahn said he and the other coaches figured out soon after they got to Auburn that they inherited a "true competitor" in Adams.

The sophomore, who caught three touchdown passes last Saturday vs. Furman, said the Tigers practiced with a lot of energy as they prepare for the SEC's oldest rivalry. Adams also noted that he thought moving indoors wasn't a major problem. "I?think we did a good job handling that,"?he said.

Defensive end Antoine Carter agreed that it wasn't a problem moving indoors. "We are still focused and everything,"?he said. "We treat it like it is outside."

Carter said Saturday's road trip to Georgia is a big one for the Tigers who have dropped three consecutive games to the Bulldogs. On their last trip to Athens, for UGA's "Blackout Game," the Bulldogs danced on the sidelines to rap music blasting out on the Sanford Stadium speakers. "I remember that, but that is kind of more motivation," the defensive end said.

Asked if he would like to do the same thing, he said, "I don't dance, I work between the lines. I don't do all of that showboating stuff."

Carter said he has watched video of Georgia's offense and is impressed. "They have great running backs, a great, big solid offensive line. We have just got to get out there and do what we do...We have to go out there and everybody has got to want it."

In other news:

*Malzahn did not have much to say about the status of freshman running back Onterio McCalebb for Saturday's game other than saying "he is coming along." McCalebb has watched the last two games from the sideline as he works on recovering from an ankle injury. The coach said that junior Mario Fannin has done a good job of filling in for the freshman tailback.

*Saturday's game will be televised on ESPN2 with Mark Jones and Bob Davie calling the action from Sanford Stadium.

*Georgia head coach Mark Richt says that his star player on offense, sophomore wide receiver A.J. Green, will play vs. Auburn after missing last week's win over Tennessee Tech with a bruised lung. Green is the SEC's leading receiver with 44 catches for 732 yards and six touchdowns.

*Neiko Thorpe is Auburn's leading tackler on special teams with five solos and three assists. Demond Washington is second with four solos and three assists.

*Georgia's special teams play is a strength. Drew Butler is the nation's top punter with his 49.2 yards average. The Bulldogs also lead the nation in net punting at 43.95 yards. Butler, a redshirt sophomore, is the son of former UGA star kicker Kevin Butler.

*UGA kicker Blair Walsh is having a strong year, too. He has hit 13-14 field goals this season with makes of 53 and 52 yards.

*Senior defensive back Brandon Boykin has set a single season school record for kickoff return yardage this year with 717 yards on 28 attempts. He is the first player in the SEC history to have two 100-yard kickoff returns in the same season. He has a chance to break the SEC single-season record of 905 yards set last year by Dennis Johnson of Arkansas.

*The Tigers have 20 players on their roster who played high school football in the state of Georgia. The group includes WR Darvin Adams (Kennesaw), WR Trevor Barden (Canton), WR Xavier Brown (Lawrenceville), LB Patrick Butler (Columbus), OL Kevin Carroll (Lassiter), DB Rodney Cofield (Atlanta), RB John Douglas (Augusta), RB Mario Fannin (Hampton), OL Stephen Gibbons (Marietta), OL Andre Harris (Lovejoy), DS Josh Harris (Carrollton), OL Byron Isom (Jonesboro), FB Jason King (Newnan), TE Philip Lutzenkirchen (Marietta), DB Tyler Mickens (Jonesboro), OL Andrew Parmer (Dalton), DB Blake Poole (Buchanan), DB Aairon Savage (Albany), DB Neiko Thorpe (Tucker) and TE Bailey Woods (Marietta).

Of that group of Georgians, only Adams, Douglas, Fannin, Isom and Lutzenkirchen have started a game for the Tigers this season.


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