News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Intensity is up at Auburn's practices
Georgia, Tide next 2 games for Tigers

By Ross Dellenger · 340-2460

AUBURN — The signs hanging in the Auburn locker room have a simple message: “Everybody remembers what happens in November.”

Auburn typically plays its two most-hated rivals — Georgia and Alabama — during November. That’s also when Auburn’s practices begin to heat up, even though the weather is cooling down.

It showed during Tuesday’s practice, according to players and coaches.

“You can definitely tell a different intensity at practice,” quarterback Brandon Cox said. “Everybody is anxious to get out there.”

Imagine offensive line coach Hugh Nall, a rugged country boy, lying on top of one of Auburn’s players. It happened during the Tigers’ high-intensity practice Tuesday.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said drills were filled with “four or five fights” between players. Nall tried his best to keep the peace.

“I thought I saw him out there fighting one time. Actually, he was breaking up a fight and fell on a guy, just trying to get them apart so they can get practice going again,” Tuberville said.

No. 18 Auburn (7-3, 4-2 SEC) travels to No. 10 Georgia (7-2, 4-2) on Saturday for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. The series, in its 111th year, is tied with the Oregon-Oregon State series as the seventh-most-played game in the nation.

The Tigers follow that with a bye week and then host Alabama on Nov. 24.

Cox said he heard about some of the fighting that took place at practice, but he stayed away — a smart idea for a starting quarterback.

“There were a few (fights) on defense, and then we had a couple on offense,” Cox said.

Linebacker Tray Blackmon said he witnessed some fighting. During individual drills, Blackmon saw reserve offensive lineman Lee Tilley and second-string linebacker Josh Bynes go at it.

“There were a couple more scuffles. It was intense, and we were having fun out there,” Blackmon said.

“I was,” he muttered a few seconds later.

Blackmon said this kind of intensity hasn’t been seen at practice since preparation for LSU in mid-October. Tuberville is hoping the energetic affairs continue.

“You could tell we are playing a pretty intense game on Saturday,” he said.

The atmosphere at Auburn quickly shifted to Georgia, just hours after the Tigers beat Tennessee Tech 35-3 in a homecoming game. Several Auburn players from Georgia addressed the team, revving them up before a longer-than-normal practice Sunday. It’s common for fights to break out during practice, but it’s usually just one or two. And assistant coaches don’t normally have to fall on top of players to stop the fights.

“Everybody is excited,” Cox said.

“These last two games are big games for us. They’re the biggest games of our season. It’s what we look forward to all season.”

Auburn at Georgia

2:30 p.m.

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