"I'm getting a feeling from this team," McClover said. "We're very focused right now. Nobody is caught up in the hype, we're just playing hard and practicing hard. That's what the difference is from last year. Last year we got caught up in the season and we started out 0-2. From there the confidence just went down the drain. This year everybody is focused from the freshmen on up."
Although the injury bug appeared to bite the Tigers pretty hard against Kentucky, it appears the team will be close to full strength by this weekend when they travel to Oxford, Miss. The only question mark right now is starting center Jeremy Ingle, who sprained his left ankle in the victory. Steven Ross took over for Ingle and there were some exchange problems in both the shotgun and regular snaps. Offensive coordinator Al Borges said that's something that has to be corrected this week in practice if Ingle is unable to play against the Rebels.
Center Jeremy Ingle hopes to be back for this weekend's game against Ole Miss.
"The center-quarterback is like so many things, there's a chemistry to it," Borges said. "You work with somebody for so long and all of the sudden there is a new guy in there. That can't be an excuse, don't get me wrong. You have to be able to take a snap from whoever is in there, but there's naturally going to be a little bit of a growing pain that goes with it. Hopefully it doesn't cost you a turnover, there's no excuse for that."
After sitting out the majority of Saturday's victory with a sprained wrist, senior Bret Eddins returned to practice on Sunday and said he'll be fine for Saturday's game. Also back was linebacker Kevin Sears, who was held out of the Kentucky game with a sore shoulder. Fellow linebacker Antarrious Williams suffered a "burner" during the game, but should play against the Rebels.
Even without Ingle in the lineup much of the game Auburn was able to control the line of scrimmage with the first offensive unit and pile up some impressive rushing numbers. Carnell Williams rushed for a season-high 149 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries while Ronnie Brown added 53 yards and two scores on just 10 carries. Borges said the running game was good on Saturday and he was particularly impressed with Williams.
"I felt very good about how we ran the football," Borges said. "I thought we came off the ball pretty hard and Carnell ran the heck out of the ball with a lot of heart like he always does. A little more this game than some of the others. We gave him more room this time, which made a difference too, but when there wasn't yards he got yards. I was very happy with the way he played. I felt like it was as good a game as he's played."
Other than the running game, the Tigers didn't dominate the Wildcats the way many fans would have liked. While Borges said that he was pleased with how the team executed the offense, mistakes marred several potential drives and cost the Tigers a touchdown. He said that has to stop.
"The biggest problem in the Kentucky game was it was just sloppy with the penalties," Borges said. "When we weren't penalized we had very good execution, but unfortunately penalties are a part of football. If you don't take care of that you're going to dig yourselves a hole. Obviously we've got to iron that out. We had way too many holding penalties and for the most part they were legitimate calls. It's something we've got to address and have already addressed."
One problem for the lack of flow in Saturday's game was the ease in which Auburn scored early. Set up by solid defense and poor special teams play by the Wildcats, the Tigers drove just a combined total of 84 yards for three early touchdowns to lead 21-0 in the first quarter. Borges said because of that he was never really able to get to the offensive plan the rest of the day.
"It was a funny game because we never really totally got into our gameplan because of the way the game went," Borges said. "We scored the first couple of times on some short range opportunities and we didn't get into opening plays of the game too much because we weren't working on the normal field.
"When we put Brandon in we were trying to pick it up, but something happened. Then when Jason came back we were in the two-minute drill. We were going to start to the second half, but we fumbled the ball. Then we had a couple of drives that scored and they were out. I had a lot of overage for this game because of the way the game went."
Auburn will take Monday off before returning to practice on Tuesday. Saturday's kickoff with Ole Miss is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. and can be seen nationally on ESPN.