Tide Has To Get Over Losses
Junior Alabama safety Rashad Johnson knows he and his team will need an attitude adjustment, and quickly, following Saturday's loss at home to ULM.
"Things have got to change," he said of his team's recent play during its 0-3 swoon. "They have some great athletes (at Auburn). They have their leader in Brandon Cox. We know his capability of coming out and managing the game well. We just need to come out and get him shaken early in the game, and slow down their running attack, because they have some really good backs."
Auburn's ground attack features Ben Tate, Brad Lester, and Mario Fannin, who have combined for 1,584 yards.
"It's the big game. Houses are divided," Johnson added. " Families are not even talking. It means a lot. Every game means a lot but this one just has something extra to it. I know I'm going to do all I can this week to go out and be ready to play on Saturday."
Johnson leads Bama with six interceptions. I think they're into it, but I think (some) people are more passionate about (football) than other people are.
Senior wide receiver Matt Caddell called his team's play of late "frustrating. We (as seniors) just want to go out there and lead by example. That's one of my things. Stay positive, and try to make everybody passionate about it.
"Eventually, you're going to go through some adversity , and like Coach Saban says, we have to learn how to overcome it, and deal with it. I think this (adversity) will bring us closer, and will help us buy into the whole ‘Coach Saban Philosophy.' I'm glad it's Auburn week coming up. Auburn week is something special. Its always on your mind, 24-7. You want to go out there and prepare your best, and get ready to perform on Saturday."
For Caddell and his fellow seniors, it's a chance to beat Auburn for the first time in their careers, and do so on their final opportunity.
Important? "Of course," Caddell said. "I wouldn't like to go out as a loser in this rivalry. Its time to go back over there, and hopefully this time, I'm going to enjoy it."
Senior guard Justin Britt also hopes to finally get a little joy on the plains. "It means everything. It's my last game, the last regular season game. It means absolutely everything. It really does. This week I'm putting everything into it. Everybody on this team is going to put everything they've got into it. Focus on the meetings, focus at practice, extra film, everything. We have to get after it this week.
"If you grow up in Alabama, you realize how much this means to everybody throughout the state and how big of a game it is. I've never beaten them, it gets me. It really does and we've got to change that. We've got to change that this year. It means everything to the state. It's a huge game."
Britt feels getting suspended linemates Antoine Caldwell and Marlon Davis could make a difference. "It's big. It's going to help us out tremendously. They are incredible players. Being able to get them back is really good and it's going to help us out tremendously."
Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson knows all about an Auburn pass rush led by Quinton Groves. "They're a really talented, strong defense," Wilson said. "They're solid. We're going to have to come to play. We're going to have to have a good week of practice. That's what its going to take to be able to play with them."
Wilson said he spent more time than usual last week watching film of the opponent's games, Bama's games, and Tide practices. He plans to continue that trend this week, joined again by Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Major Applewhite.
"This is a big game for us," Wilson said. "I don't think anybody's going to sit up here and say its not. We need to come out and have a big game against Auburn, to turn these streaks around of losing to them and losing this season. Everybody's got to get back into the right mind set, keep a positive attitude with all the negative things that are going on, and get ready for this game. This is a game that, if somebody's going to watch one game all year, this is going to be it. so we've got to come out, and put on a good show."
Bama leads the all-time series against Auburn by a 38-32-1 margin that's been narrowed by the Tigers' five straight wins. Kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium is set for 7 p.m. CST Saturday. ESPN will televise the game.
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