By Jay Coulter
Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said it has been tough getting past Saturday’s heartbreaker at LSU. The Tigers returned to the practice field on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s matchup with SEC West division foe Ole Miss.
“It’s hard to get a smile on your face after the performance that we had and the effort that our players gave,” said Tuberville. “We came up a little short, but that’s football.”
Tuberville and the Auburn coaches are focusing this week on how to be a better third quarter football team, something they’ve struggled with all season.
“Bottom line is we didn’t coach well in the third quarter, and we didn’t play well on offense, defense and kicking game in the third quarter,” said Tuberville. “That’s been our problem the whole year, consistency playing an entire game.
“It seems like somewhere we lose some kind of edge or concentration in all phases including myself. It takes us a while to get back on track and when we do we look like a pretty good team then.”
Auburn knows this week’s game with Ole Miss is dangerous. Coming off an emotional loss and having to face a team that’s out to prove something is a recipe for problems.
Despite being winless in the conference, the Rebels are a team that’s capable of beating you. Ed Orgeron’s group gave both Florida and Alabama everything they could handle. It’s important that Auburn bounce back quickly and be ready to go Saturday night.
Tuberville says the Rebel’s blowout loss to Arkansas Saturday is not indicative of the type of football they are capable of playing.
“Ole Miss is a team that last week didn’t play very well. Their coach, (Ed Orgeron) even came out and said they played flat. One time during the year you are going to have one of those,” said Tuberville.
“They played a team that the week before had a loss and had something to prove. It was a tough game for them. They are a much better team than that. They played some very good teams and played them very close,” Tuberville said.
“They are getting close at times to getting over the edge. They have a very enthusiastic coaching staff that works very hard. I know most of them. I know how they coach, and I know how they take losses. They will come out and put their best foot forward and play very well.”
As we talked yesterday, Tuberville believes his team is getting better by virtue of those healing from injuries.
“We’ll have a better team in terms of athletes, because we are starting to get a few guys back,” said Tuberville. “Ryan Pugh will practice tomorrow, for the first time. He ran today. It’s good to see him getting close to the position he was at before getting hurt at Arkansas, same thing with Merrill Johnson and (Aairon) Savage.
“We’ve been beat up a little bit. It’s been a long eight games and we have three more before the break. The only thing we can do is keep working hard and getting better and try and get a few guys back.”
Despite the tough loss, Tuberville is confident the Tigers will be ready to go on Saturday.
“This team will be ready to play,” said Tuberville. “Ole Miss will be ready to play, as well. This is an SEC game and you can never look at past performances, you always have to worry about the present.
“We have done a pretty good job of that this year, worrying about what you are going to do today and not what you’ve done yesterday or what you are going to do tomorrow. This team is on track for that. We played well after the Florida game and I hope we can play well after this one.”