Tuberville Keeping Busy In the Offseason

<B>Tiger Ticket</b>

Auburn's football coach, Tommy Tuberville, discusses the 2003 Tigers.

Pensacola, Fla.--For head football coaches at Southeastern Conference schools, May and June are often times to hit the road and meet the alumni as well as relax and spend more time with the family. Auburn's Tommy Tuberville has been doing just that in recent weeks, but will have a new offseason assignment starting this week that will be heavier on the relaxing.

Tuberville will be traveling to Birmingham on Thursday for surgery that he hopes will relieve a pain in his neck as well as a back problem that has bothered him in recent years. However, in recent months the problem has worsened enough to convince him it is time to undergo the knife.

"It has gotten to the point that I can't get rested because I can't sleep like I should," says Tuberville, who will begin his fifth Auburn season in August when Southern Cal comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Tuberville, who was in Pensacola for the fourth and final stop on the athletic department's Coaches Caravan series, says he is looking forward to what he hopes will be an exciting season for Auburn fans starting on opening day when the Trojans come to Auburn. "I expect Southern Cal will be ranked in the top five nationally when they arrive," he says.

Tuberville addresses a standing room only crowd of Auburn fans at The Moors golf club in Pensacola, Fla., on Tuesday.

With the Trojans on the home schedule along with the return of the Tennessee Volunteers and a showdown with archrival Alabama to close the regular season, the head coach suggests that fans line up tickets as soon as possible to see the Tigers in action.

Tuberville, who was a collegiate golfer, won't be playing any more golf this year while he rehabs after back surgery, which is scheduled at HealthSouth in Birmingham. However, he should be ready to move around with no problems when two-a-days begin in August. Prior to that, Tuberville says that he will be able to check out prospects at Auburn summer football camps by cruising the AU practice fields in his golf cart.

Tiger Ticket Extra: Tuberville wasn't the only coach who made the trip to Pensacola. Cliff Ellis discussed the men's basketball team run into the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Ellis says that recruiting is going very well with the possibility of a top five class nationally...Dave Marsh, who has two national championships to add to his resume this year from women's and men's swimming, also attended the event sponsored by Tigers Unlimited and the West Florida Auburn Club...Tuberville says that he is very excited about the 2003 recruits who will be reporting to campus this summer for preseason drills. The head coach says he is particularly interested in seeing how an athletic group of new defensive ends fits into the picture for the 2003 team...Former Auburn head football coach, Pat Dye, spent the day with the Coaches Caravan group and showed he is still quite popular with the AU faithful.

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