Football Tigers Headed Back To Practice Field

Auburn, Ala.--As the Auburn football Tigers wrap up fall semester final exams they will return to the practice field on Thursday for their first workout since winning the SEC Championship Game nearly two weeks ago.

Coach Tommy Tuberville's 12-0 Tigers are scheduled to practice for three straight days, take the day off on Sunday and work out through next Wednesday before taking a break for Christmas. The Tigers will meet in New Orleans on Dec. 28th and begin practices on the 29th at the Louisiana Superdome.

The seniors will travel to Birmingham for the annual Jefferson County Auburn Club Watch Banquet on Thursday evening. On Friday at 5 p.m. the entire team will be honored at Toomer's Corner to celebrate the SEC Championship.

The City of Auburn and the Auburn University Athletic Department are sponsoring the event that will feature a speech from Tuberville, the AU band, cheerleaders, Aubie, the Tiger Paws, AU interim president Dr. Ed Richardson and Auburn mayor Bill Ham. The event will feature a traditional rolling of Toomer's Corner.

All-American senior cornerback Carlos Rogers will be back on the practice field this week.

Tuberville and his staff are also scheduled to be entertaining football prospects beginning on Friday. "Our concentration has been on recruiting since the SEC Championship Game," the head coach says. "Now we will start our preparation for the bowl game, but we aren't in any big hurry to put the game plan in just yet. You don't want to do that too early or the team can get stale."

The Tigers will take on Virginia Tech on Jan. 4th as they make their fifth appearance in the Sugar Bowl and first since 1989. This year's bowl game will be the fifth straight postseason appearance for the Tigers, who have won their last two bowl trips. Last season Auburn defeated Wisconsin 28-14 in the Music City Bowl, the second victory in what is currently a 14-game winning streak.

Auburn, which is ranked third nationally, has not played ninth-ranked Virginia Tech since taking a road victory on Sept. 18, 1978 in Blacksburg. Auburn leads the overall series 2-1-1 vs. the Hokies.

Tuberville says the Tigers will have their hands full in New Orleans against a 10-2 Virginia Tech team that comes into the game riding an eight-game winning streak. The coach says he will be counting on strong senior leadership to help get his Tigers ready to play the Hokies even though his players are disappointed that they were not invited to the BCS Championship Game in Miami.

"This team has been ready to play every week and that is a real credit to the seniors," Tuberville says.

All-SEC senior tailback Ronnie Brown runs in Auburn's SEC Championship Game victory over Tennessee.

The coach should have a relatively healthy team. Except for the players who were lost for the season, starting weakside linebacker Antarrious Williams is the only player who is questionable for the bowl game. He missed the past two games with a wrist injury.

"I hope A.T. (Williams) is back for the bowl," Tuberville says. "We just don't know yet. We will see what the doctors say. We are not going to do anything to jeopardize his health. We would love for him to be able to play."

When Auburn and Virginia Tech at the Louisiana Superdome the Tigers will be trying to improve on their all-time bowl record of 16-12-2.

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