Auburn Offense Braces For Tough Test

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers head to a veritable house of horrors this Saturday when they travel to Fayetteville to face the improving Arkansas Razorbacks while looking to stay undefeated in SEC play.

The last trip to Reynolds-Razorback Stadium was one the veteran members of this Auburn team would just as soon forget. In the cold and rain the Tigers were thoroughly whipped by a fired-up Razorback team that played perhaps its best game of the season on that miserable day in a 34-10 win. Junior tight end Lorenzo Diamond says the memory of that day won't let this team overlook the Hogs this year although they have struggled at times and come into the game with a record of 3-3.

"In 1999 we went down there and it was cold and raining," Diamond notes. "We struggled on offense and defense. We couldn't stop what they were doing and they stopped us pretty good. We're going to have to go down there and get more focused and know that this is a tough place to play in. We're going to have to go down there and run our offense and play defense real well to win."

The task this season gets even tougher when you consider the defense that awaits Auburn this weekend. Allowing just over 12 points per game at home this season, including holding Tennessee to 13 and South Carolina to seven, the Razorbacks field a very stingy defense that Auburn offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone says it takes a long time to prepare for because of its unique style.

"They'll be one of the better defenses we've played up to this point," Mazzone notes. "I think they're real aggressive. They run to the ball real well. JT (Arkansas defensive coordinator John Thompson) lines them up in a bunch of different looks so there's going to be a lot of recognition like Joe Lee (Dunn at Mississippi State), a lot like (Don) Lindsey at Ole Miss, they all come from that same school where they make you account for everybody out there."

Something that should help Auburn's offensive efforts this weekend is the continuing development of true freshman tailback Carnell Williams. Following his best performance of the season against Louisiana Tech when he rushed for 78 yards, caught one pass for 10 yards and returned six kickoffs for 150 yards, the speedy Gadsden native says he is getting closer to becoming the player that he believes he can be. That could happen this weekend in what Williams says is a very important game for this team.

True freshman tailback Carnell Williams bulls through this Louisiana Tech defender on his way to a big gain late in the fourth quarter.

"Week by week, day by day, I'm just getting more comfortable and more familiar with college football, the atmosphere, most of all the offense," he says. "From Ball State to now is like night and day. I'm steadily progressing and things are going to get a whole lot better.

"Everybody knows how important this ball game is.," Williams adds. "We all know how hard it is to win down there. Like we've said, for us to be a championship ball club we're going to have to win on the road. We feel like this week is a great chance to show everybody that we are a conference championship team."

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