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Auburn Kicker Sidelined

Damon Duval's sideline argument with coach Tommy Tuberville has cost the Auburn kicker his job. Tuberville said Tuesday that Duval will not start against No. 14 Mississippi.

"I don't feel like I'm in the dog house," Duval said. "I'll take my punishment and move on."

Duval and Tuberville exchanged heated words in the first half of last week's loss at No. 7 Tennessee. Tuberville, who was angry with the kicker after he overthrew a fourth-down pass on a fake punt attempt, sent Duval to the lockerroom for arguing with him.

"We just had a coach-player get together on the sideline after a play that didn't work and I decided that we needed to continue that in the dressing room," Tuberville said. "I felt like I wasn't getting my point across at that time."

It wasn't just the argument that cost Duval his job, though. To compound problems, as Duval left the field, he smiled and made a "peace" sign to the cameras at the nationally televised game.

"He did make a gesture on TV that I was not aware of. We don't condone that type of behavior," Tuberville said.

Tuberville said he would be punishing Duval for the incident, but wouldn't elaborate. He then said Rob Bironas would be the place-kicker against Mississippi State and Sammy Manno would be the punter.

"Damon is just going to work his way back into the lineup," he said.

Duval and Tuberville met Sunday afternoon and the coach said later that day that everything was ironed out between them. He later was made aware of Duval's gesture to the cameras and changed his mind.

Duval, who like the rest of Auburn's kickers and snappers has his hair dyed platinum blonde, defended his character on Tuesday.

"I'm not a rebel, I'm just a 19-year-old kid doing his best in college football," he said. "I can't take back what I did, I don't even remember it really. It was just a heated moment."

Duval has now experienced a little bit of everything since taking over the kicking duties in Auburn's third game of the season. He kicked two field goals, five extra points and scored a touchdown on a fake field goal in a win over LSU.

A week later, he missed what would have been the game-winning field goal in an overtime loss to Mississippi.

Bironas, a preseason All-SEC kicker who has struggled all year, will reclaim his place-kicking job. Manno took over the punting duties after Duval was taken out of the game.

Also Tuesday, Tuberville said defensive end Leonardo Carson wasn't trying to be critical of the coaching staff when he complained about the length of Auburn's practices. He said the senior was actually just frustrated after the Tigers lost their second straight game.

Carson said Auburn's defense waworn down at the end of the 24-0 loss to Tennessee because Tuberville works them too hard during the week.

"I believe we are tired, but I believe if you practice hard you play hard," Tuberville said.

Still, Tuberville said he would shorten the amount of time spent on the practice field by eliminating running exercises and miscellaneous drills.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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