Friday, December 29th, 2006


DALLAS – A light rain fell intermittently throughout Auburn’s two-hour workout at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Friday, as the No. 10 Tigers continued their preparations for the 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Auburn will face the No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers on New Year’s Day.

Despite the inclement weather, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville opted to practice in the stadium instead of in SMU’s indoor facility. The Tigers practiced in shoulder pads and shorts, running inside and skeleton drills during a spirited workout on Ford Stadium’s artificial turf.

“Today we had another physical practice,” Tuberville said. “I didn’t want that much contact, but it’s hard to pull back on the players if they want to practice that hard and that physical. That’s what this game is going to be about.

“Our practices have been enthusiastic and we’ve gotten a lot done. Tomorrow, we’ll have our last practice [before the bowl]. It’s still going to be a long one, but there won’t be nearly as much contact.”

On Saturday, the Tigers will work on their kicking game as well any last-minute details Tuberville says his team needs to incorporate for game time. Auburn is scheduled to practice from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Ford Stadium.

At least five Auburn players missed all or part of Friday’s workout due to the flu. Defensive back David Irons, defensive tackle Chris Browder and offensive guard Tim Duckworth, all seniors, were among the players suffering from the effects of a stomach virus. Irons, in fact, tried to participate but had to leave practice early.  

“When you put 120 guys together, you’re going to have some guys getting sick. It’s just one of those things that happens,” Tuberville said.  “Hopefully, they’ll all be ready to go by Monday.”

Following Friday’s practice, the Auburn players and coaches visited Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.

Kickoff for the 71st AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is slated for 10:40 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. The game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports and broadcasted nationally on radio by Westwood One.