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A Big Weekend For Auburn Athletics

Tommy Tuberville accepts trophy for sixth consecutive year.

By Jay Coulter

A big War Eagle to you on this Monday. I pulled off the rare doubleheader yesterday; attending Auburn’s pounding of Alabama in basketball and then heading to Plainsman Park to watch the Tigers sweep East Tennesee State in the opening series of the 2008 baseball season.

The best part of course was Alabama presenting the ODK Iron Bowl Trophy to Tommy Tuberville and the team at halftime. Along with the trophy presentation comes the annual humiliation for the Alabama SGA president, whose duties include making the yearly trek to the Plains to sing the Auburn fight song.

I have to give it to the kid from Tuscaloosa; he handled it with class. He was a sport about it and unlike some of his predecessors, he learned all the words. I’m surprised they can find anyone to run for SGA president at Bama. Making a fool out of yourself in front of 10,000 people can’t be all that appealing.

Auburn opened spring football practice yesterday, working out in shorts and helmets for a couple of hours. Speaking to the crowd at the basketball game Tuberville took a direct shot at all the media coverage Alabama’s received since National Signing Day.

"Regardless of what you hear and read, we will have a football team next year," said Tuberville. "We've won six in a row and we're working on seven."

All eyes are obviously on the quarterback position. Tuberville said he liked what he saw on Day 1.

"I watched all of our quarterbacks and they did pretty well picking this stuff up," said Tuberville. "We only have a small portion of what we want to run from the bowl game, so we have a lot to do. I like what we are doing. Defensively, there's not a lot you can do without pads on."

Returning quarterbacks Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle will be competing with newcomers Chris Todd and DeRon Furr for the starting position. Burns and Todd are thought to be the front runners.

Auburn will have its first scrimmage this Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. CT. All practices and scrimmages are open to the public.

Tuberville is openly optimistic about this year’s team.

"We have good leadership this year," said Tuberville. "I think this group will be some of the best leaders that we have had in the past three or four years. We have had good leadership up to this point, so that will make us even better.

"We have a chance to have a good football team. I think this group is gelled to do something special, but we really have to get through spring. You never want to make any predictions until you see what this group is about. But I like the attitude and that's where you start."

Privately, coaches have been pointing to the 2008 season for several years. This is a team that is loaded with talent and the schedule is favorable – as much as it can be in the SEC.

I can’t wait to see how the new offense stacks up against the new defense. My guess is the offense will dominate the spring while new defensive coordinator Paul Rhoades gets his system put in place.

After all, Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin is a veteran with three weeks of practice time under his belt.

The next month should be a lot of fun for all of us. War Eagle!