That's why today's practice really didn't have much to do with Auburn, their opponent for the Cotton Bowl. It was just a way to get back into the rhythm of practice before they have to buckle down and prepare for the Tigers. "Kids were a little rusty today, but we had good effort," Defensive Coordinator Kevin Cosgrove said. "(We) finished up with a little scrimmage with the younger guys."
As head coach Bill Callahan indicated following the Oklahoma game, this time was an ideal time to get a lot of the younger players some valuable repetitions. From players like Sam Keller, who was named the Scout Team Offensive MVP, to those who simply haven't got that many reps, this was their time to get in time, which bowl practices allow.
"We are trying to get the young guys as many reps as we possibly can," Cosgrove said. Along with getting kids reps, Coach Cosgrove said that they will test some players at different positions as well. One of those players working at a different position today was junior offensive lineman Jordan Picou. He was moved to the nose tackle position today. "We are taking a look at some kids at different positions over the next couple of weeks. We're still talking about that stuff right now."
While not as big of a change, sophomore offensive lineman Matt Slauson was moved back to guard, where he was originally slotted in at the beginning of the year, joining Mike Huff. Carl Nicks is working at the starting right tackle spot, while sophomore Andy Christensen is at left guard, junior Bret Byford is at center and sophomore Lydon Murtha is at left tackle.
Offensive line coach Dennis Wagner said that these moves are no different than anything else they have done all year, just trying to find the right combination. "We are just trying to find the best five for our game against Auburn," he said. "Carl has done a nice enough job, that we didn't see any reason to take him from that spot, and Matt, of course, he wants to play. So, he's going to give Mike (Huff) some competition inside, which I think will be good for both, because neither wants to be taken off the field."
When it comes to the actual preparations for Auburn, the team won't hit the specifics regarding the Tigers until Friday this week. The team will go through one more practice tomorrow, and then the players will have the next four days off. For the coaches, it's a time where they will hit the road once again for recruiting, and after that it's going to be all about Auburn.
Head coach Bill Callahan will be available following tomorrow's practice, and Big Red Report will bring you the latest as the big red prepares for the Cotton Bowl.