Underdog? What do the Tigers Think About That?

Auburn is preparing for its first-ever road trip to Syracuse and the Tigers are predicted to lose in a national television SEC vs. Big East showdown.

[Auburn has a 2-0 record, but the Tigers are a slight underdog to a 1-2 Syracuse team as AU hits the road for the first time this football season.

There is little evidence that the Auburn players themselves consider themselves underdogs as they try to improve their record to 3-0.

"Motivated is definitely the word to use," senior offensive guard Hart McGarry says. "I don't pay much attention to those type of ratings, but when family and friends do mention that to you it does give you motivation."

Another senior, wide receiver Tim Carter, says he can understand some of the reasoning involved, but doesn't agree with it. "I guess you could say that they are looking at us and see a lot of young players at key positions," Carter says.

"I guess people aren't counting on our young guys to perform and figure that is going to kick in and our guys won't succeed because this is a road game. I don't believe that is true. Our young players are great athletes and have a lot of maturity. I believe they are going to handle going on the road well and play like veterans. I also think this team will continue to get better week in and week out. We definitely plan to succeed."

Tim Carter will be a wide receiver and special teams threat vs. the Orangemen.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Joe Walkins says he isn't concerned about the underdog tag. "I heard about it but we aren't going to worry about things like that. If we just work hard in practice and stay focused on the game plan things will work out for us on Saturday."

Junior punter and kicker Damon Duval says he believes his team will use the underdog label to its advantage. "It is an extra element to help us get prepared and motivated to go play at Syracuse. We are going to use it as a positive. We have got the players and the talent. In this case we feel like there is no way we should be the underdog, but if that is how it is going to be perceived let it be and we will use that in our favor."

James Callier says the biggest motivating factor for him is seeing the team do well away from home. "Not so much as us being the underdogs," he says. "It is more of us wanting to win our first road game. I have never been to New York. It is an exciting atmosphere. I hear the Carrier Dome is loud so it should be rocking.

"That road win is important," the senior defensive end adds. "I have been in those situations before and the momentum you build from that win is critical to getting to the postseason. You are going to need to get those kinds of wins to get your team morale up and to let you know that you can handle those distractions that come with traveling."

Defensive end James Callier drills at practice.

"We are excited," Callier says. "We have had a good week of practice so far. I just pray and hope we can continue to do that. We are in for a good one. Syracuse has a good football team, especially offensively, so we have our hands full."

Callier says he believes his team has used the unexpected off week to get better. "This wasn't literally a bye-week, but I really commend the coaches. They have kept us focused and it is hard to do that, especially with the events that went on in New York. I am excited because I know the guys have got their focus back on the task at hand, which is to play Syracuse. We are jacked up and ready to go."

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