Quick Start A Key For Tigers

Wide receiver Courtney Taylor will be a key for the Auburn offense against Tennessee Saturday night.

Auburn, Ala.–-You don't have to tell Auburn sophomore wide receiver Courtney Taylor how tough it's going to be to beat Tennessee in Knoxville Saturday night. As a fan of college football he knows the difficulties associated with any road game in the Southeastern Conference.

But this one is tougher than most because of the more than 106,000 fans that will be jammed into Neyland Stadium when the game kicks off at 6:45 p.m. CDT Saturday night before a national television audience on ESPN. Throw in the fact that the Vols will be looking for payback for last season's Auburn win and you have a recipe for disaster for the eighth-ranked Tigers. Taylor says that Auburn has a definite plan of attack for the game and it involves getting off to a good start.

"Their guys are going to be very motivated," Taylor says. "They'll have their crowd behind them and they're going to come out playing hard. Just beating those guys to the punch is our objective right now, to take that crowd out of it early."

Courtney Taylor and the Tigers are ranked eighth and ninth this week. Tennessee is ranked eighth and 10th.

Playing in an offense that relies a great deal on changing the play at the line of scrimmage, Taylor says that Auburn's plan won't change much this week despite the overwhelming noise expected Saturday night.

"It doesn't really matter about the crowd," Taylor says. "The only thing I see is that the crowd might give them momentum. It's not going to affect our offense because we don't yell out plays or our audibles to each other. We have checks. We'll just watch the quarterback and he'll give us a check and that's it. The crowd is not going to play a major part for our offense. It might a little for the linemen on hearing the snap, but as receivers we're taught not to move until the ball moves."

Auburn's leading receiver in catches with 11 and second on the team with 157 receiving yards, Taylor has been quarterback Jason Campbell's main target through four games. A fierce competitor, Taylor came up with Auburn's two biggest plays of the year with a catch on fourth and 12 to extend the game against LSU. Three plays later his touchdown catch with 1:14 left was the eventual game-winner for the Tigers. He says that the victory over LSU put Auburn in position, but this week is a very important game in terms of perception and the SEC Western Division race.

"Being realistic, this game means a lot," Taylor says. "Some might say that they're in the East and we're in the West, but that doesn't matter because it's all SEC and that means a lot. We just feel like it would put us as a frontrunner in the SEC so it means a lot for us trying to establish ourselves as number one in the SEC."

For the 11th time in the last 24 games Auburn will face a Top 10 team when it squares off with the ninth-ranked Vols. With a record of 6-4 in those games to this point, Auburn has been successful facing top competition, but Taylor says there's no secret to the success his team has had. They just treat the games like any other and will do the same thing this Saturday night.

"You don't even really think about it," Taylor says. "You know it's an SEC opponent regardless of anything whether they're ranked in the Top 10 or not. You're going to get that team's best effort. Anyway it goes it doesn't really matter."

An easy way to tell just how big of a game is coming up for Auburn is to spend some time around the football complex during. Last week all was relaxed as the Tigers prepared for The Citadel, but Taylor says this week is already more energetic and things will only become more electric until kickoff on Saturday night.

"Like Coach (Tommy Tuberville) said, you don't have to give a big motivational speech for this game," Taylor notes. "The guys are ready. It's the SEC. We don't need no speeches or anything. We're ready to play."


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