Togetherness The Message For Tigers

Auburn seniors C.J. Uzomah and Gabe Wright discuss the role of the seniors for the Tigers this preseason.

Auburn, Ala.--With two of its seniors running afoul of the law over the summer, Auburn took the practice field this preseason looking to keep the news on the field as the Tigers try to repeat as SEC Champions in 2014. However, before the work began for Coach Gus Malzahn and company, the senior leaders decided enough was enough.

After both Nick Marshall and Jonathon Mincy apologized to the team for their mistakes, it became a full senior idea to take things a step farther. Getting together with the entire 105-man reporting roster when preseason camp began, defensive lineman Gabe Wright said the focus is on football for the Tigers and making sure they’re doing things right both on and off the field.

“It’s definitely been emphasized and it’s definitely been put into play,” Wright said.

. With a very large senior class and a group of players that have seen a lot of action for Auburn over the last three years, the message was a simple one, enough is enough. No more off-the-field issues and no more distractions. Senior tight end C.J. Uzomah said it means putting the team first and bonding as a group.

“We kind of just said that there is no one on campus and there are times when you get bored and want to do stuff, and we say no,” Uzomah said of camp problems. “We’re going to be accountable for each other. That’s what we’ve done. We have an 11 o’clock curfew and we’re all in our rooms. To be completely honest, I don’t know about everyone else, but I am in my bed way before that and watching Netflix and passing out.

“The camp grind is entirely too toiling on someone’s body. We’ve kind of said that no one is going to get into any trouble. Even on our off days we’re going to hang out with each other. We’re going to play FIFA (soccer video game) as much as possible and just hang out and relax and not get into any trouble.”

While there are certain to be issues down the road at Auburn when you’re dealing with 18-22 year olds, at least for the time being the Tigers have tried to do something about it. Even with two seniors involved Uzomah said it starts with his group of guys to set an example and make sure the young players understand what it means to play at Auburn.

“We're pretty much saying the seniors need to be an example for the younger guys so it won't be a recurring thing,” Uzomah said. “We kind of nipped it in the bud by saying it's not going to happen again. We're going to focus on the season. We just need to focus on football. That's where our heads have been. That whole thing is behind us.”

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