March 3, 2011
AUBURN - The No. 22 Auburn gymnastics team (3-5, 2-4 SEC) travels to Provo, Utah, to take on No. 26 BYU (10-3-2) Friday at 8 p.m. CT in the Smith Fieldhouse. The trip will include two meets in four days, as the Tigers will then compete in a tri-meet on Monday vs. Southern Utah and BYU. The Tigers are coming off a victory over Pittsburgh last Friday scoring a season high, 195.925.
"We tried to get a lot of repetitions on the events on Monday, knowing that we're going to go for basically two weeks now without a lot of practice," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "We have to be careful because you don't want to beat them up before two big meets. We backed off a little bit on Tuesday and tried to just clean things up a little bit.
"We tried to prepare one day for the Friday meet with that type of a rotation schedule, and then Monday's meet is a different rotation schedule since there are three teams there. We tried to do a different rotation on Tuesday. We used both days to try to prepare for each meet individually."
This is the seventh meeting between the two schools, with BYU leading the series 4-3. In the last meeting, Auburn defeated BYU 195.150-194.325 in the NCAA Central Regional on April 12, 2008, in State College, Pa.
After winning all five individual titles last week, the Tigers have momentum heading into two road meets.
"I think it was a big confidence boost for them, and I think they finally came away with what they viewed as a positive," Graba said. "I know in our eyes, we have other positives from fans and from the coaching staff, but for the athletes, it's all about what they particularly do on each event. Everybody did such a good job that I think they really built some confidence after that. That's important.
"We go to BYU, and they won at Arkansas. They're a really good team, and they're going to be at home. We go to Southern Utah, and they beat UCLA, the National Champions from last year, in Cedar City, Utah. Both of these teams are really good. I have some experience with them, and they're really quality teams. We have to do a couple more meets like last Friday night."
Graba notes that even with a big win at home, the gymnasts are still being pushed for what they are capable of.
"We're trying to keep our expectations high and fine tune what we're trying to accomplish," Graba said. "We're being pickier about the little things and just having our expectations high on what they do. Realistically, it helps when you have more people healthy because when you have eight or nine people available on an event, it pushes the group to be better."
Auburn will head to Cedar City, Utah, on Monday to take on Southern Utah (6-4, 3-1 WAC) in a tri-meet with BYU at 8 p.m. CT in the Centrum Arena.
A live blog during Friday's meet can be accessed at www.auburntigers.com.