Eddins, Tigers Ready For Big Game

Senior defensive end Bret Eddins discusses the defense and getting ready for Mississippi State.

Auburn, Ala.–-Bret Eddins has a message for anyone that will listen. This is not the same Mississippi State team that Auburn manhandled last season in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Coach Sylvester Croom has brought a new attitude and discipline with him to Starkville and the results have been very positive to this point. That's good news for Eddins, who is glad many of the young players playing for the Tigers this season can't look back at last year's game and expect the same thing this time around.

"Thankfully they played the type of game they can against Tulane and we have that on film," Eddins said. "You can go back and point out games in the past and me and Jay and some of the older guys can tell them that last year is not the Mississippi State team you're going to play. That was a different team. You just try to tell them as much as you can and get them ready and hopefully they'll go out there and react to it well."

The seniors have been more vocal than normal this week as they try to get the young guys up to speed on what is facing them this weekend. As many as 10 defensive players could see their first road action against the Bulldogs and Eddins said it's up to the veterans to give them an idea of what they're getting into.

"I think we're going to have to," Eddins said. "A lot of these young guys, it's not their fault. They think they understand what they're walking into, but they really don't. It's a different atmosphere. Going on the road in the SEC and playing a team like Mississippi State, you try to pick up the plays on film where their guys are finishing blocks 15 yards downfield and driving guys into the ground.

"We say "if you don't play your technique and by physical this is going to be you, you don't want that to be you on film". We're trying to give them the best idea we can and the coaches are trying as well, but there's no teacher like experience. Hopefully they won't get rattled by it and will be able to react to it positively."

Eddins and Ratliff look on during a practice.

The young players are not the only one that needed some reinforcement this week as the coaching staff didn't like what they saw out of the team in the season opener against Louisiana-Monroe and changed the tone of practice for Monday and Tuesday. Practicing in full pads, the Tigers had very physical days to try to up the tempo of the team going into Saturday's contest.

"I think it was a wake-up call because we got here and they said ‘all right, we're practicing in 30 minutes so get dressed," Eddins said. "I think some of the young guys and some of us older guys needed it. I'm not going to sit here and say I'm not a little rusty. We didn't go out there and have the best technique practice we could have had at a lot of spots, but the effort was there. That's what you really want to have at a practice like that."

Following a preseason that seemed longer than any in years, Auburn got a chance to play a football game last weekend, but for the defense it only added to the frustration. Determined not to the let quarterback get him, the Indians implemented a short passing game that kept the Tigers off-balance and anxious to face a power team like Mississippi State this week.

"It's fun for a less athletic guy like me," Eddins said. "It is fun because you work so hard all year and the coaches put you through these tough drills, you don't want to go out there and play finesse ball all the time. You want to go out there and hit somebody. A lot of people are going to be real sore and banged up after this one, but that's SEC football."

A senior who has followed the fortunes of the Auburn Tigers and SEC football his entire life, Eddins knows the importance of this game and said that it would be huge to come away with a victory come Saturday afternoon.

"It's a big game historically in the SEC," Eddins said. "For us, you always want to get your SEC record started with a win. It's a big game for both schools. It looks like their back up and we're going to have to go in there and play great. We're going to have to play really good to come out of there with a victory."

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