Dec. 27, 2009
Tampa, Fla. -
Auburn began its Outback Bowl week practice with a two hour session at the University of Tampa, just west of the downtown area Sunday. The Tigers worked on individual and position drills, finishing the workout with team periods against the scout team.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik noted after practice that the Tigers were a bit rusty, as it marked the Tigers' first session in five days.
"It's the first day and we were a little rusty," Chizik said. "You could tell they've had four days off. The effort was good but I just thought we were sloppy. We obviously need the next four days, so we'll get back to work tomorrow and we'll try to get some of these things shored up. Overall the effort was good, but again, you can just tell we've had some time off and we have to get back into the rhythm of practice."
Auburn will face a high-powered Northwestern offense that was second in the Big Ten and 29th nationally with 266.1 yards passing per game. The Wildcats average 386 yards of total offense and 25.2 points per game.
"The bottom line is you still have to stop the run to win the football game," said Tigers' defensive coordinator Ted Roof. "They'd love to be able to run the ball which allows them to keep people off balance. So, it all goes back to the starting point of what we try to do every week and that's to make teams one dimensional and to be able to limit the run. But when you do that, this offense spreads you out all over the place, so there are challenges with that as well."
After practice Chizik along with seniors Antonio Coleman, Andrew McCain, Walt McFadden, Chris Todd and Terrell Zachery visited St. Joseph Children's Hospital in Tampa.
"I think it was a really good for us to be able to see some kids that may have some issues or are going through some things that are really tough," Chizik said. "Seeing the children's faces light up when the players walk in, and then to see the players react to that, I'm not sure that our players didn't get more out of it than the kids do. It was a really good day for everybody."
Chizik and the Tiger players passed out AU hats, bowl posters and pennants. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and Wildcat players were also part of the visit with the Auburn contingent.
"It was a lot of fun getting to visit with the kids," McFadden said. "You could tell it meant a lot to them and it meant a lot to me and the players too. We are very thankful to be able to come visit them and make them happy. Being able to give back to the community and show our love and that we are humble men is important."
The 2010 Outback Bowl will kick off at 10 a.m. CT on New Year's Day in Raymond James Stadium and be nationally televised by ESPN.
Monday, the Tigers conduct its second practice of bowl week with a morning session at the University of Tampa followed by a visit to Busch Gardens later in the day.
Tickets for the Outback Bowl are $70 and may be purchased through the Auburn Ticket Office via auburntigers.com or by calling 1-800-AUB-1957. The Auburn Ticket Office also has an allotment of club level tickets for $150 each. For the best seats, fans are strongly encouraged to place orders through the Auburn Athletic Department.
Official Bowl Packages are available through Total Sports Travel, the official Travel management company for Tigers Unlimited and the Auburn Alumni Association. Call 888-367-8781 for your reservation or visit totalsportstravel.com to pre-register.