Tigers Fine Tuning Plan For Northwestern

Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks about Tuesday's practice and getting his team prepared to face Northwestern.

Tampa, Fla.--It may be just Tuesday on the calendar, but in football terms for the Auburn Tigers it was a Wednesday practice as the team worked out for around two hours in shorts and shoulder pads as the Outback Bowl game against Northwestern gets closer. Coach Gene Chizik said that his team has responded well despite all of the distractions surrounding the game.

"It was a good practice today," Chizik said. "I thought the tempo was up. It was a little shorter today because of the some of the events, but we're kind of coming down to the end of the week anyway. This was our Wednesday-ish practice. Good work today and I think we're in the right direction."

With a trip to Busch Gardens on Monday, Gameworks for video games on Tuesday night in Ybor City and Clearwater Beach on Wednesday, the Tigers and Wildcats both will have to be careful not to have too much fun over overexert themselves at the events. Chizik said so far his team has handled things well and they're being careful to tone things down closer to kickoff.

"Will all of these events you've kind of got to watch that," Chizik said. "This bowl game has been phenomenal with just the way they space things out. There are optional things you can do. Not all of them always have to go. I think it has been really good for the players because everything isn't mandatory. It's a great mix of things where they can have fun but still get a lot of rest."

Focusing on little corrections and fine tuning the gameplan on both sides of the ball for Northwestern, the Tigers spent the early part of practice working on special teams and finished up with the scout team offense and defense putting the regulars through the paces. Chizik said that while things have been crazy off the field, on the field the team has gotten better and better with every passing day in Tampa.

"They've been really good," Chizik said. "Obviously, we've got to really narrow down the focus in the last couple of days, but every practice since our first one has been better. The focus was there today. The focus was there yesterday more so than the first day we practiced. We're starting to narrow back down into the mindset of it's game week and we've got to get going."

Barrett Trotter runs the ball during Tuesday's practice.

While the scout team performers are helping prepare the team for Northwestern, many of those guys have also gotten a chance to work in on offense and defense and get some reps. Quarterbacks such as Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley as well as Nosa Eguae on defense have all benefited from extra practice time, something Chizik said was crucial for the development of the program.

"I think it's going to be big," Chizik said. "Essentially you get an extra 12 practices, which is essentially your spring practice or pre-spring practice. For us being new and our first year I think it's huge."

Auburn and Northwestern will attend the Debartalo Team Luncheon onTuesday before heading to Ybor City. The Tigers will have their final practice Wednesday morning at the University of Tampa.

Tiger Ticket Extra: The beat writers who cover Auburn football decided to come up with a "Good Guy Award" to a deserving Auburn player for the way he handles himself well in dealing with the media and a player who is always willing to talk to do interviews no matter how tough the situation. We chose senior defensive back Walter McFadden for the honor, a player who Chizik said is well-deserving.

"I think you're right on," Chizik said. "You couldn't have picked a better one. He's a great ambassador for Auburn. He's a great person. He's a great football player. He's always the same, never changes. What you see is what you get. I don't think you could have picked a better one. That's a good pick."

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