Tigers Ready To Say Thanks And Then Face Tide

Auburn will have a short walk-through on Thanksgiving day and then it's on to the Iron Bowl against Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers put the finishing touches on practices for the Iron Bowl with a Wednesday afternoon practice that lasted for around two hours. While there is still a short walk-through scheduled for Thanksgiving morning, Coach Gene Chizik said pretty much all that is left is to tee it up and play the game.

"I thought we had a good practice today," Chizik said. "We're just trying to wind everything up and clean up some things. Basically it will be the same walk-through type things as tomorrow. Basically I was pleased. We've got to clean some things up and be ready to go." MO< Injuries and specifically a foot injury to sophomore linebacker Eltoro Freeman remains the story of the week for the Auburn Tigers. Chizik said Freeman has gotten better this week, but still remains a game time decision. With only true freshman Jonathan Evans remaining as a scholarship linebacker, his availability would be huge for Auburn's chances as the Tigers face one of the top running teams in the SEC, but Chizik said Evans has responded well in practice.

"I'm really proud of him," Chizik said. "I think in the last 10 days or so. It's different preparing when you may have to be the guy. He's been really focused. I think the reps have accumulated for him to feel comfortable. If he has to be the guy, we've repped him enough for him to do that, I think. In 10 days, he's made a lot of strides."

The good news is that if Evans has to play it will be alongside two grizzled veterans in Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens. In 2009 Auburn's defense has played almost an entire game more than other schools because of the number of snaps involved with the junior duo playing the vast majority of them. Chizik said it's rare to find players that have seen as much action as Bynes and Stevens have this year.

"You can got to Craig," Chizik said. "Craig has covered kickoffs and punts and has basically not missed a snap on defense. I think it's rare. Those two guys have been workhorses for us on defense.

"I can't remember a time when they just haven't had the luxury ever of having a break. They've played beat up. They've played beat up. They've played tired. They've just done a great job for us, both of those guys."

Facing the number two team in the country and one of the top defenses in the land, Auburn's offense will tested like it hasn't been tested this season. With two weeks to prepare sophomore wide receiver Darvin Adams said the team feels ready to go and he adds that playing a game against an opponent like this should only bring our your best.

"I think it brings out your best," Adams said. "It's just like if you're running the 40 and somebody is racing you then you'll probably run the 40 faster. I think that will bring out the best in us. It's a big rivalry game. I think we'll be ready for it."

Auburn will have a short walk-through on Thursday morning before eating Thanksgiving dinner together on campus. The team will then travel to the team hotel later in the day to get ready for the final regular season game of the season against Alabama. Kickoff for the 74th Iron Bowl is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and will be shown nationally on CBS.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn will have a huge group of official and unofficial visitors on campus this Thanksgiving weekend for the Iron Bowl on Friday. Chizik said while the prospects are on campus it's important for his team and program to show the fight they've shown all season and just because it's Alabama it doesn't change the fact that the goal is winning.

"In my opinion, every game is that important," Chizik said. "Every game, it is really imperative that we are competitive and we fight and we find ways to win it. This game is no exception. We know this is a big game just because of what the game stands for and what the game is. The way we approach it mentally is that every game it's important for us to be physical and fight and scratch and claw down to the end. We need to lay a foundation that we are playing the same way all the time, regardless of who we are playing."

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