Pumped up following a 7-1 start and currently No. 8 in the AP Poll and 11th in the BCS standings, Auburn is riding high at the moment after taking down SEC foes Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Junior running back Corey Grant knows all too well how tough last season was after watching most of it from the sidelines because the previous coaching staff couldn't find a way to get him on the field.
Now a big part of Gus Malzahn's offense as the speed portion of Auburn's three-headed monster backfield, the former Opelika High standout said this season is all he could have hoped for to this point.
"It's very exciting," Grant said. "Last year we never thought that this year we'd be at this point we're at, but when Coach Malzahn and the new staff got here we always just kept a new mindset. It turned out good for us."
Preparing to face Arkansas and Tennessee on the road before returning home to close out the season against rivals Georgia and Alabama at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn has plenty to play for in the final month of the regular season. With a berth in the SEC Championship Game in their hands and BCS talk surrounding the team, it's important the Tigers keep the mindset they have had all season long under Malzahn and this staff. Tight end C.J. Uzomah said playing for a guy like Malzahn should be just what the doctor ordered to keep this Auburn team focused on the task at hand.
"I think it's huge to be honest," Uzomah said. "I remember he emphasizes the little things for him. We have a turf-grass mix on the practice field and he tries to make sure that we're behind that every time (on the sidelines). And if we're not, now we get on ourselves instead of the coaches getting on us, we get on us.
"And I think the little things like that is what kind of sets us apart. That, especially with the attention to detail, it's not really going to be a huge factor on us because we're still going to approach each practice the same, each game the same, and try to focus on the little things and block out the rest."
Not getting overly impressed with themselves has helped the Tigers steadily improve from week to week. That was evident last Saturday in what could have been a perfect letdown situation against Florida Atlantic. Instead of coming out lethargic against the Owls, Auburn took care of business against the outmanned opponent.
After jumping out to a quick 21-0 lead by scoring on their first three possessions, the Tigers were able to play reserves throughout the second half on the way to a 45-10 victory vs. FAU. This Saturday the Tigers will look for another strong start as they face a 3-5 Arkansas team in a game that will kick off at 5 p.m. CDT from Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.