"It is going to be a real physical SEC battle," says Auburn junior Danny Lindsey. "We know it is going to be a dogfight. We want to come out strong and leave everything on the field."
Kickoff time is set for 6:45 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium as the seventh-ranked Volunteers look to run their record to 5-0. For Auburn, it is a second chance to prove its worth against a Top 10 opponent after an opening night failure vs. Southern Cal. The big problem vs. Southern Cal and in game two at Georgia Tech was the offense. Although the Tigers have put up 93 points on the scoreboard the past two games, the competition was not as good as what the Tigers will see on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium so all Tiger eyes will be on the offense, and in the offensive front, in particular.
"At the beginning of the year, I thought we were closer than we had been in years past," says Lindsey, Auburn's starting center who was a starting guard last year. Lindsey notes the two losses shook up the Tigers, but he says he believes the team has responded positively since then. "I think it has made our team as a whole come together," Lindsey says. "It showed that you need a true team effort to win football games.
"I think we have come together, not just as an offensive line, but as a whole offensive group," Lindsey says. "We have started clicking, the way we ended the year last year. We have got things rolling finally. We are not going to slow down and we are going to keep pushing forward without holding anything back."
Tennessee escaped an upset bid last week by visiting South Carolina, edging the Gamecocks 23-20 in overtime while Auburn was putting a 48-3 whipping on Western Kentucky. Lindsey knows that his assignment will be much tougher this week.
"They have a big front, they are quick and they move around real well," the center says. "They have some quick linebackers that move around real good. We are going to have to come off the ball hard and get on the linebackers as well as the defensive front.
"We are going to have to come out and execute our game plan," Lindsey adds. "We need to come out the way we have been playing the last couple of weeks and get the job done."
Tennessee is the first of three Top 10 teams that the Tigers will face in the month of October with road trips scheduled to Arkansas and LSU. "It is exciting playing somebody in the Top 10," Lindsey says. "We are concentrating on one game at a time and it is exciting to play Tennessee this week. We need to come out, play the way we know how and take care of business.
"It is going to be won in the trenches like most games," Lindsey says. "You have got to handle your job up front to make room for the backs and give the quarterbacks time to throw the ball. It is also going to be important for our defensive line to handle their run.
Lindsey says he believes the Auburn offense has regained its confidence after struggling in the first two games. "We know we can get the job done," the junior center says. "We know we can get the ball in the end zone if we execute the offense no matter who we are playing."