Todd Excited As Tigers Continue Work On Tide

Quarterback Chris Todd and Coach Gene Chizik talk about getting ready to face Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Auburn, Ala.--Last season Chris Todd was on the sidelines as Auburn fell to arch rival Alabama 36-0 in the Iron Bowl, the first loss for the Tigers after six consecutive wins. While he hasn't experienced the rivalry on the field just yet, Todd said he's looking forward to just that when he takes the field next Friday.

"It's a fun game every year," Todd said. "Everybody is excited about it. It's a good atmosphere. It's kind of the last game of the season and kind of wraps things up. It's going to be an exciting game to play in."

Facing an Alabama defense that has shut down opponents at every turn this season, Todd said the Tigers will have to play at a high level to pull out a victory against the undefeated Crimson Tide.

"They're a good defense," Todd said. "Obviously they've got athletes across the board. They've got size up front. They do different things and are well coached. We will have to prepare well for them. They're a good football team."

Helping Auburn's chances is an off week, the first for Coach Gene Chizik's team this season. After playing 11-straight games and practicing four weeks before that, Todd said getting the opportunity to take a step back and have a few days to rest has been huge for the Tigers.

"It's good for everybody health-wise to get an extra week because we haven't had our bye week yet," Todd said. "We can recuperate. It's good for us. We've had a long season. You get beat up. Guys will have some time to get some rest and get their bodies back and get some fresh legs before we get into next week."

On Thursday the Tigers got back to work in full pads with the focus continuing to be fixing the mistakes that plagued the offense and defense in the loss to Georgia while also getting an introduction to the gameplan for Alabama. Todd said offensively the team has put an emphasis on eliminating the problem areas from the loss to the Bulldogs.

"The big thing is to look at all the details and fix the little mistakes that we kind of hurt ourselves on," Todd said. "We have made that a point. We can't make mistakes and put ourselves in bad situations that can hurt us throughout the game."

Working on those mistakes has been a continuous theme for the week as the Tigers practiced for two hours with the focus on that part of the game. Chizik said he likes the attitude of his team as the Tigers close in on one week until the Iron Bowl.

"It was a good practice today," Chizik said. "I just thought it was really upbeat. The preparation is going well. We have another early morning practice tomorrow. The tempo has been good and the focus has been good, as you would expect. We're pleased with where we're at."

With the off day on Saturday and an extra week to prepare for the Crimson Tide, that would usually signal a more physical practice for an Auburn team. That's not the case this season though because of a lack of depth at several key positions, particularly on defense. Chizik said even shorthanded they're still going to have some of those parts of practice where they hit and get after it.

"We're doing a little bit of both," Chizik said. "We're getting some contact in there that we need. You just can't remove yourself from that even this late in the season. You still have to do a little bit of it. It's a good mix."

One of the injuries that has dealt a blow to the Tigers is that of sophomore linebacker Eltoro Freeman. Injuring his ankle in addition to dealing with a concussion, Freeman was held out of Thursday's practice and Chizik said the Alexander City native is day to day. Without him at practice the Tigers are working with true freshman Jonathan Evans on the weak side. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said that Evans has had two solid days of practice and has progressed well following his playing time against Georgia last week.

Auburn will have a short walk-through on Friday morning before taking off until Sunday. The team will resume practicing Sunday afternoon in preparation for Friday's 1:30 p.m. kickoff against Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

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