Auburn vs Ole Miss

Auburn running back Shaun Shivers runs with the ball during the Tigers' win over Ole Miss last Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers are off Saturday and preparing for the stretch of the season featuring home games against rivals Georgia and Alabama. (Greg McWilliams/For the O-A News)

Auburn knows what’s coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium this month.

And the Tigers know they’ll have to be waiting and ready to be at their absolute best.

Players have turned to treatment and healing while coaches have turned to film and preparation as the Auburn football team goes into its last bye weekend ahead of rivalry row — and the ever-important stretch run of the season facing Georgia and Alabama.

Star defensive end Marlon Davidson and standout safety Jeremiah Dinson both practiced Tuesday, Auburn head coach Gus Malzah said on Wednesday, after missing Auburn’s win over Ole Miss last Saturday.

Running back JaTarvious Whitlow, meanwhile, is still healing from his injury suffered in early October, but Malzahn said the team’s goal is to get him back to 100-percent health before the Georgia game.

Auburn hosts Georgia on Nov. 16 then the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30 after a tune-up with Samford.

Georgia was ranked No. 6 in the new College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night. Alabama was ranked No. 3.

“We spend half the time, probably, preparing for them, half the time cleaning up and trying to be sharp with things,” Malzahn said of the off-week routine, and of looking ahead to Georgia. “When you see them, you see a very talented team — one of the more talented teams in our league.

“That’s what jumps out to you when you watch film.”

Malzahn is dangerous with a reel of film in his hands.

He is a perfect 11-0 as a head coach after bye weeks.

But this time around, the time to heal for the players may be just as important for Auburn after a brutal three-game road stretch in the SEC and a tight contest against Ole Miss.

Davidson missed the Ole Miss game with lower-back tightness. Dinson missed the game with a virus.

Whitlow was held out of the Ole Miss game after taking four snaps in the LSU game in the Wildcat. He was hurt in Auburn’s loss to Florida on Oct. 5. Malzahn announced he was expected to miss four to six weeks then, but he came back in three to contribute in the LSU game.

He’s been practicing with a knee brace, but the team is going to strive to get him back at full-go before the Georgia game, Malzahn said.

“We’ve had two good days of practice,” Malzahn said in his press conference Wednesday night. “Lot of positive energy. Little head start on our opponent. At the same time, healing up has been a big priority, too, for a lot of our top guys. It’s been a very physical stretch. So we’re healing those guys up.

“Tomorrow, we’ll practice again, and we’ll give our guys off the weekend, just like we did the last time. We’ll come back Sunday and be ready to go for game-week routine.”

While the players are off on the weekend, Malzahn will be out recruiting — though he said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday that he’ll have an eye on the weekend’s massive Alabama-LSU game, knowing the Iron Bowl looms large.

“We have a routine as far as our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday routine, then you get to Friday and you recruit, and Saturday you can kind of finalize things,” Malzahn said.

It’s been a winning formula so far for him as a head coach.

“The goal is when we get back Sunday, we have our game plan complete, so that way you can kind of really have everything ready, as far as your practice scripts and everything goes. Then you kind of evaluate and slow down and watch every game that they’ve had this year and kind of get a feel.

“That’s always really the best thing for me during a bye week, to get some extra time to see things big picture.”

Ready or not, Georgia and Alabama are coming.

So Auburn’s doing its best to get ready.

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