By Jay Coulter
Before we get to football today, I want to say congratulations to my father, Sonny Coulter on his election to mayor of Phenix City, Alabama. This will be his fourth-term as the city's leader. He didn't run for re-election four years ago and decided to get back in it this go around.
He defeated another fine Auburn man, Gene Oswalt. Gene has served Phenix City in many capacities over the past thirty years and I'm proud to call him a friend.
Congratulations Dad, we are proud of you.
Now on to football. Auburn shifted into game week preparation on Tuesday, practicing for nearly two hours behind the athletic complex. Most of practice focused on scout team work as they get ready for Saturday's opener with Louisiana-Monroe.
Tommy Tuberville held his first game week press conference of the year and talked about fall camp and this week's season opener.
"It has been a good, hard, long camp and our guys are ready to play," said Tuberville. We need to play and need to find out where we're at. We've taken a little bit different approach this year with two new coordinators. We obviously have had a lot of new things to work on.
"Louisiana-Monroe is a football team that's gotten much better over the years," said Tuberville. "They run a little bit of the spread. I don't think they run as much fast-tempo as we run. But they've got a quarterback that's athletic, they have a lot of starters back and they have a very fast player on their football team that they move and put in certain situations. And I'm sure they're coming in here knowing that they've played in this league before, and they've been successful, and they're coming in to play as well as they possibly can, and we're going to do the same thing. So it should be a good game."
Tuberville has focused all summer on the Tigers getting off to a good start, something they failed to do last season when they dropped two of their first three games.
"We felt like we needed to go back and look at the little things that we were doing," said Tuberville. "And I think a lot of times you look at your inexperienced players and you work with them a lot and you look at some of the possible weaknesses you might have and you don't work enough on your strengths, because they can always get better. And that's really what we've done these last two weeks.
"After we got everybody in camp and got everybody in their right positions, we've really worked hard on trying to make our experienced players better and the guys that have been around, and trying to make the football team better. I think that we even got a lot of room for improvement there, but it's very important that we all, as a team, play well. But we do understand that we've got some younger players we're going to be playing."
With much anticipation, Tuberville released the depth chart heading into Saturday and the starting quarterback is... either/or. He said it would be a game time decision as to who starts behind center. If Kodi Burns or Chris Todd knows, they are not letting on.
Tuberville responded to comments he made earlier in the summer about a quarterback being named within the first 10 days of practice. "You don't know what is going to happen," said Tuberville. "I'm one of those that I like definite things. I like to, as a coach, know where our hat is going to be hung, so to speak, and this is pretty unique to all of us, even Coach Franklin. He probably told you the same thing.
"Usually you can look and point and say `Hey, this is the guy we can look at and feel can do a much better job for us'. That hasn't been there and it hasn't been that both have done badly or both have done great. It's just that both have done well and been very consistent. All the players rally around them. They both get a tremendous amount of reps in practice so sometimes it's kind of like going to this offense.
"I had to change. I had to change my personality and coaching style pretty much over night. It's the same thing with this situation. I think it's a great situation for us. Both will be hungry to play, and I want it that way. I want them both to be very competitive, but I also want both of them to know that hey we're on the same team now. You know they are not competing against each other. When we go out there on Saturdays, you've got to learn from the other guys' repetition and what he saw and what he did, communicate on the sideline. I think that is very important. Again, I think it is a very good situation."