Tigers look to put the pieces back together today

 

On paper, today’s game against Mississippi State shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the Auburn football team. After all, the Tigers have dominated the recent series between the two schools. MSU hasn’t scored against Auburn since 2004, and AU has won the last three meetings by a combined score of 105-14. In most years, today’s game would be a speed bump, an obstacle on the way to bigger, more exciting contests.

Not this year.

After last Saturday’s 26-23 overtime loss to South Florida, the Tigers know they can’t take anything for granted. Fortunately for Auburn, there’s no time to mope over the loss. Today’s game, an 11:30 a.m. contest to be broadcasted on Lincoln Financial (Channels 3 and 12 in Lee County), begins AU’s Southeastern Conference schedule. And the Tigers are eagerly focusing on the SEC race. The previous two games are history. And Auburn’s players and coaches are glad to be past them. Now, though, the biggest challenge begins. Today’s game is the first of eight SEC contests. Players and coaches alike insist that their No. 1 goal every year is to win the SEC. The first two games – against Kansas State and South Florida – had no impact on that goal. Auburn’s SEC road begins now. The Tigers hope the road ends at the SEC Championship Game, in Atlanta. It’s not as if SEC success is a new experience for Auburn. The Tigers are 21-3 in SEC play the last three seasons. Keeping that winning tradition alive is important. It’s especially important for Auburn’s seniors. “We’ve done really well the last couple of years in the conference, and we expect nothing less than that,” safety Eric Brock said. “We just want to get everybody on the same page and make them understand this is a different type of situation. “We’ve got SEC games coming up, and this is pretty much our season right here.” No one involved with AU’s football team thinks the Tigers have a chance to contend in the SEC unless they become more effective on offense. But head coach Tommy Tuberville thinks the team is near a turning point. It all starts, according to Tuberville, with continuing improvement. Despite the loss to South Florida, coaches say the Tigers improved considerably from a rocky season-opening win against Kansas State. Tuberville thinks the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. The offensive line, which struggled to protect quarterback Brandon Cox against KSU’s blitzing defense, gave the senior plenty of time to pass against South Florida. Cox didn’t have much success despite the extra time, but Tuberville was pleased with the rest of the offense, from the line to the receivers to tailbacks Mario Fannin and Ben Tate. “We’ve got a lot of potential,” Tuberville said. “As long as we keep making progress like we did from the first to the second game, we’re going be fine.” And the coach likes what he’s seen this week in practice. “The thing as a head coach you look at is, ‘Are they giving effort?’” Tuberville said. “This group has given as much effort in the first two games and practice as any team we’ve had.” Now, it’s time to start putting that effort toward a fresh start. AU may be 1-1, but the Tigers are 0-0 in the SEC. And for now, that’s all that matters. “Our goal is to go to Atlanta,” Cox said. “With the seniors, we’ve been through it before. We’ve experienced losses. We know we still have a chance.” And it all begins today.

0 Responses to “Tigers look to put the pieces back together today”


  • No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must login to post a comment.