The Auburn football team opened game-week preparations for the Chick-fil-A Bowl with a 110-minute practice inside the Georgia Dome Monday.
Working in full pads, Auburn touched on all phases during Monday's practice as the Tigers began in position drills before closing with the offense and defense working against the scout team.
"I thought we had a really good practice today," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. "I was worried a little bit about it being rusty and being away from practice a good bit, but I thought the energy level was high."
Monday's practice was the first for Auburn since Wednesday, Dec. 21. Despite the four-day break, Chizik said he was pleased to see the players attentive during meetings Monday morning.
"I thought they were very focused this morning in the meetings," Chizik added. "We obviously need all the days in practice we can get because this is a very good football team (Virginia)."
Auburn (7-5, 4-4 SEC) takes on the Virginia Cavaliers (8-4, 5-3 ACC) on New Year's Eve in just the third meeting between the two programs. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN.
This season, Virginia has been led on the ground by Perry Jones and Kevin Parks. Jones has rushed for a team-high 883 yards, while Parks has totaled 661 yards rushing in 2011.
"They (Jones and Parks) run the ball very physical," Chizik said. "They have a great scheme. Their scheme is one that if you let them, they'll run the ball all over the place and discombobulate where you fit on the run. They've done a great job with the run game. Both guys can carry the football, they're both very physical."
Following Monday's practice, the team took part in the Team Welcome Party at Dave & Buster's restaurant and arcade.
Auburn came to Dave and Buster's to enjoy arcade games, including the Bowl Week Challenge where the trio of Chris Davis, Josh Harris and Philip Lutzenkirchen participated in a pop-a-shot basketball competition. Each player had 40 second to make as many shots as possible. The group finished with a total of 34, behind Davis' high of 15. Harris netted 12 shots, while Lutzenkirchen had 7.
"I started out a little shaky at first but then I found my stroke," Davis said. "I just had to get into a groove. It is fun to come out and compete with your teammates in events like this and have some time to spend with them away from football."
Auburn will practice Tuesday at the Georgia Dome.