Monday, which is normally the mandated NCAA day off for the Tigers, will be a major work day on and off the field for the Tigers as they prepare for this Saturday's road game at Alabama.
With the university on holiday for the entire week and no classes until next Monday, Auburn players noted it will be an opportunity to turn all of their attention to upsetting their archrival. One of those players is the starting middle linebacker, Jake Holland, who led the Tigers in tackles on Saturday in their 51-7 victory over Alabama A&M.
"With no classes this week that is going to be good for us," Holland says. "It will be all concentration on football so we can get some things corrected that need to be corrected and we can go from there."
Coach Gene Chizik says his players will have some academic responsibilities this week. "You still have exams coming up," he points out. "You still have some stuff to do academically for them to finish strong in the semester. It's not just 24/7 football, but the schedule does allow you obviously to do more."
Holland had been held out the previous week with an ankle sprain, but got plenty of action in Auburn's home finale vs. Alabama A&M after going through extensive treatments to get well again. "I played a lot and the ankle is fine and ready to go," the junior notes. "We have one more week and we will see what we can do."
Holland says he is happy to see his senior teammates go out with a victory in their final home game. There is no doubt the junior would love to send the seniors out with a memorable upset victory this week over No. 2 ranked Alabama, which needs to defeat the Tigers to assure itself of a spot in the SEC Championship Game to play the Georgia Bulldogs.
Saturday's game will be nationally televised on CBS and will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CST from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama leads the series 41-34-1. Auburn leads in games played between the two teams at Tuscaloosa with seven victories and just one loss.
Holland, who was a star player at Pelham High School, is familiar with the tradition of the Iron Bowl. "I have been watching the game since I was old enough to remember," he points out.
Alabama won last year's game, 42-14, in Auburn. The Tigers won on their last trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium, rallying from a 24-0 halftime deficit to win 28-27.