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Jackets Begin Preparations for 17th-Ranked Auburn

Sept. 1, 2003

“I think everybody knows they’re a very good football team, and they’re probably a great football team,” said Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey of 17th-ranked Auburn, which visits Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Both teams are coming off season-opening losses as Tech (0-1) fell at Brigham Young, 24-13, while Auburn (0-1) lost to eighth-ranked Southern California, 23-0.

“They didn’t exactly play like it the other night, but they are a great football team,” continued Gailey. “And I think we’re better than we played the other night.”

Tech returned to practice Monday, after taking the weekend off following last Thursday’s trip to Utah.

“I think the guys understand the importance of this ball game and are mentally preparing, but we just sluggish today,” said Gailey after Monday’s practice. “We haven’t done anything in a couple of days and just had to get back into the routine.”

Gailey said his squad would focus on execution and the elimination of mistakes this week.

“The biggest thing for us is making sure of our ball security,” he said, referring to Tech’s three fumbles against BYU, including two in the red zone in the fourth quarter. “That, and third-down defense is big for us. And we’ve got to run the football better.

“I was pleased with the effort and not pleased with the execution. We have to execute better.”

After opening the season on the road, Gailey and the Yellow Jackets looks forward to playing at home in the first game in the expanded, 55,000-seat Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field.

“I think it’s going to be electric in this stadium Saturday afternoon,” said Gailey. “I told the guys at practice today, ‘You won’t find a more exciting place to play than right here on Saturday afternoon with this crowd and a great team coming in.”

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