The Auburn football team was back inside the Georgia Dome on Wednesday for its third day of bowl-week practice as it continued work toward the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia with a one hour and forty minute practice session in full pads.
Wednesday was also a special day for head coach Gene Chizik, as he celebrated his 50th birthday. Chizik was serenaded not once, but twice. The first was courtesy of members of the media and Chick-fil-A Bowl staff at his press conference, while the second came after practice from the Auburn team and staff. The birthday element added to what has already been a fun week for the Auburn program.
"Today was Coach Chizik's birthday and the players flew around and kept cutting up about that," assistant head coach Trooper Taylor said. "It looks like they are having fun and that to me is critical. It's supposed to be a reward."
Despite the ongoing celebrations for his birthday, Chizik knows that the Tigers face a tough task on Saturday against Virginia's complex offense – a system that he says is different from anything his Auburn team has seen in 2011.
"We faced some teams that move some, try to get you discombobulated," Chizik said. "But this is pretty much three‑fourths of the game. It's kind of a catch me if you can type situation, so much movement, trading in shifts, different personnel groupings, things of that nature, it's very challenging.
"Nobody that we've played does quite this amount of extensive moving. So it's a little bit different than everybody we've faced this year. "
Auburn will practice one final time on Thursday, before completing a walk-through on Friday.
The fun on Wednesday continued for the Tigers as they took part in a milk shake competition in round three of the Bowl Week Challenge with Virginia. The event pitted the Auburn offensive line against UVA's offensive line in a game to see who could make five milkshakes the fastest.
"It looked like it went pretty good," senior Brandon Mosley said. "Reese [Dismukes] did pretty well, but I think Chad [Slade] might have slowed us down a little bit. Overall, I think we did pretty good. It was all a lot of fun. I enjoyed it."
The linemen also had a chancce to figure out exactly what it takes to concoct a great milkshake.
"The key to a good milkshake is your milk, your ice cream, then pick whatever flavor you want," junior John Sullen said. "The last ingredient is a lot of love and care."
Tickets for the Chick-fil-A Bowl are $80 and may be purchased through the Auburn Ticket Office via www.aubtix.com or calling 1-855-AUB-2010. All seating assignments will be based on Tigers Unlimited Priority. For the best seats, fans are strongly encouraged to place orders through the Auburn Athletic Department.