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Hartselle Enquirer

Tigers have lower expectations in 2004

By Staff
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
HOOVER – Auburn head football coach Tommy Tubberville said expectations should not be as high this season for his Tigers as they were in 2003.
Tubberville, addressing the media during the opening of SEC Media Days, said the Tigers have lost too many starters on defense to be considered a national championship treat this season.
"Last year we were loaded on defense," Tubberville said. "Every magazine or poll you looked at had us in the top five in the nation. We turned out to be a little overrated.
"Our goal last year was to compete for a national championship, but our expectations have to be lower this season. We have so much youth on defense that the expectations can't be as high as this time last year."
Tubberville stated the offense would likely be the focus of the 2004 edition of the Tigers.
"Our offense will have to carry our defense this season," Tubberville said. "Especially early on, while the defense will have some growing up to do. We'll look at our offense to lead the way for a while until our young guys on defense get up to speed with SEC football."
Tubberville said the addition of Al Borges as offensive coordinator will enhance the Tiger passing game, but pointed out the Tigers are still planning to run the football.
"There's been a lot of talk about us running a West Coast offense because that's what Al ran in the past," Tubberville said.
"We're going to run the Auburn offense, not the West Coast offense. We want to enhance our passing game, but we're not going to abandon the run."
"Al coached in the wishbone long before he ran a West Coast offense," Tubberville said. "He believes in the running game and he's going to adjust to our players. Our players are not going to adjust to his offense.
"Our strength is at running back. Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown are two of the best running backs in America and we plan on them getting the ball a lot. They'll run it and catch it. They both have good hands."
The coach stated Auburn has the type of speed he likes to see on defense, but cautioned fans to be patient with the young defenders.
"We've got the type of speed on defense to win," Tubberville said. "But it will take some time this year before this unit is up to SEC standards. Look at LSU last year, probably no one else in the country had that type of speed.
"But, I want to tell you we're close to that level. This group just needs experience."
Tubberville also feels Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer made a mistake in judgement by not attending the media event. "He's going to pay the price for saying that," Tubberville said. "He'll have a price to pay in the press. I think it's a move he's going to look back on and regret."

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