Dec. 15, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville spoke to the media Thursday and previewed the Tigers' upcoming Capital One Bowl game against Wisconsin. The game airs on ABC and begins at 12 p.m. CT.
"It is good to be back. I would have liked to have had a little bit better weather today. It was a good practice considering the temperature was in the low 40s. For us that is a little chilly. Plus there was rain on top of it. Our guys are excited about finals being over. We don't have our grades back yet. We'll get those in the next couple of days and see how they came out. It has been a long time since we practiced. We had a little rust out there today. We have done a lot of weightlifting and running the past couple of weeks. Most of it has been studying and getting back to the classroom. That's where we finish strong academically.
We started this morning. We'll go for the next six days. We'll practice every day at 11:00. We had a lot of meeting time. We'll have a lot of time to catch up on fundamentals and techniques going into the Christmas holidays. We'll work part of practice every day on Wisconsin and the game plan. Most of it, until we get to the bowl site, will be fundamentals and techniques, getting back to throwing, catching, and tackling. We are going to do some live drills in the next few days when we can get some dry days. We are going to do some things full speed and try to get back in game mode and try to get our guys geared up to what it's going to be like in a couple of weeks.
We are fired up about playing. Today, our players started looking at Wisconsin for the first time. This will be a good football game. They have a team that knows how to win. Coach Alvarez has done a great job at Wisconsin. This will be his last game. Obviously, it will be a very emotional game for him and his players. We hope to go in and play our best game and see what happens.
Offensively, they have a running back that can make a lot of plays. He is very similar to some of the guys we have played in our league. They have a big offensive line and very athletic wide receivers and a quarterback that has been around for a few years and he knows how to play. They are very impressive offensively. Defensively, they have had a lot of injuries. There are not a lot of different things that we see on film that have changed since we played them in the Music City Bowl a few years ago. They have had some injuries. I am sure they will get a lot of those guys back, a lot like us on defense during the year - kind of up and down. Some games you play well, some games you miss some of the guys that were out with injuries.
This bowl layoff time will help them as much as it will help us. It should be a good football game. We are going to attempt to go into the next few days and work with the younger guys a lot. We'll practice them and put in some of the game plan. Once we get to the bowl site, the day after Christmas, we'll go full steam and do most of the game plan and the things that we are going to do in the bowl versus Wisconsin."
On getting a look at the younger players...
"We'll look at most of the redshirt guys. We don't know a lot about them. The thing that we always try to do going into bowl practice is all of the guys that have redshirted have been on scout teams and position coaches don't know how they have been doing, how much weight they have gained, all those things that we need to get a gauge on to see where we want to start them for spring practice, which starts very early for us, which is the first of March, so we only have a couple of months to get ready. We'll look at all of the redshirt guys. Most of the guys that are not on the first or second team will get a lot of extra work in the next 10 or 11 practices. We want to do as much full speed work with them as we possibly can. We'll have one scrimmage with them here and one scrimmage with the guys that are on the scout team in Orlando."
On the team's continuity after a long layoff...
"The speed of the game is the reason we are going to scrimmage. We are going to scrimmage our older guys. Today we had a blitz period scrimmage, where the quarterback understands the urgency of a situation and get him setting his feet and throwing the ball the correct way. We did an inside drill, which was live, but we are going to do some 11 on 11 once it starts drying out. We'll probably do some of that Saturday, Monday, or Tuesday. We are not going to go into this game without some contact. We are going to work on all of our players. We will do some full speed work and it won't be scout teams. It will be first ream offense versus first team defense and so on down the line. We have done that in the past. I think it has helped us going into the game, because it is a long layoff. You miss some consistency and you want to get back to 11 guys playing the same way and not seven or eight playing and three of them making the same mistake every time and going different speeds than everyone else."
On the team's health...
"Everyone is in good health. We did have one bicycle rider today. It was one of our young running backs who is usually on the scout team. He hurt is ankle playing basketball. Everyone else was practicing full speed. Joe Cope went full speed. It has almost been five weeks since his injury. He was disappointed that he missed the Iron Bowl, but he is ready to go now. Everyone looks like they are at full speed. Brad Lester ran very well today. It looked like a first practice in a month because guys had fresh legs and were running very fast. Again, if we can get a little bit of warm weather to have a little but more continuity, we'll be able to have a little bit of contact where we can get a lot out of these practices that are coming up."
On the biggest difference between the SEC and the Big 10...
"There is not a lot of difference. If you look at their league this year, they had some good teams, as we did. If you look down the line, their league was probably a little bit more offensive. That is a little different than what we saw the last time we played a Big 10 team in the Capital One Bowl in Penn State a few years ago. It's up and down. Both conferences are very similar. They usually have bigger offensive linemen. We are used to seeing that. We played Michigan one year in the Citrus Bowl. They all look like Marcus McNeil. Here, we have one guy like that. Wisconsin is the same. They have big offensive players that are very physical. They have a lot of speed. That is a misnomer that I have seen. The Big 10 has as much speed as anybody. Their wide receivers can run. Their running back is very quick. It is pretty similar to some of the teams we play in the league. They do some things different philosophy-wise on both sides. But player-wise it is going to be very similar."