Devonte Danzey snaps the football in a drill on Sunday at Hoover High as graduate assistant coach Johnny Brewer (orange shirt) watches.
Hoover, Ala.--A foursome of veteran Auburn Tigers said following a Sunday practice that their football team is having intense practices as the Tigers prepare for Wednesday’s Birmingham Bowl game vs. Memphis.
“Winning for the seniors and having momentum for the young guys has been the big thing,” said fifth-year senior linebacker Justin Garrett.
“Practice has been real good,” he pointed out. “We have been out there with a lot of energy and being intense. We have been getting after it.”
Auburn will take a 6-6 record into the contest while Memphis is 9-3. Garrett noted it is important to finish the season with a victory. “Being 7-6 sounds a whole lot better than 6-7,” he said. “Having a chance to finish off on a winning note and having a winning season is important to the seniors.”
Junior wide receiver Marcus Davis pointed out that it is also important to the returning players to send the seniors out as winners.
“I don’t think our seniors have had a bowl win since they have been here so it is a big game for us,” Davis said. “Practices have been going really good. We have a lot of energy. We have guys flying around trying to send the seniors off right.”
Senior defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert noted the seniors and other players are focused on a strong finish. “We are taking this game very seriously,” he said. “We talked about it as a group after the coaches leave and we talk as a team. We let them know this is very important.”
Lambert said the key to victory is what happens up front. “It’s the O-line and the D-line--we have to go out and make the game.”
Senior center Devonte Danzey said it “is a blessing” to be able to finish his college playing days in a bowl game and doing it as a starter. “It is really exciting to be able to start this game,” he said after Sunday’s practice at Hoover High School.
“The bowl practices have been intense and very exciting,” Danzey said. “It has actually been fun--the most yet for me because it means so much to the seniors. This is our last go-around and to give our young guys momentum.
“I am just excited because it is the last one,” Danzey added. “Everybody has been getting after it. It really means something to our players.”
Seniors Kris Frost (17), Ricardo Louis (5) and Jonathan Wallace (12) head to practice on Sunday at Hoover High School.
Auburn’s head coach, Gus Malzahn, said he has noticed the team’s intensity in practices. “Any time you win it is very important,” he said. “Any time you have a bowl and you can win it gives you momentum. These seniors, too, we want win this thing for those guys.
“We have a very big challenge,” the coach added. “Memphis is a very good football team. I think everybody knows that. Our conference opponent, Ole Miss, they beat them, they beat them soundly. That definitely gets your attention and I know they are looking forward to playing an SEC team here in Birmingham.”
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CST on Wednesday at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game will be televised on ESPN.