Campbell Squarely Focused On Ole Miss Game

Auburn, Ala.--When things get going good for people they can become the talk of the town, both good and bad. That has been the case with Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell as his success this season has brought out both the supporters and rumor mongers.

Just a few weeks ago there was talk that Campbell had been hurt in practice and wouldn't play in the next game. That proved to be nonsense.

Then after Auburn's 42-10 victory over Kentucky, Campbell took phone call after phone call late Saturday night when a rumor spread that he had been arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge, which was news to Auburn's senior quarterback.

"There are some rumors flying," Campbell says. "I think somebody is just trying to mess up our team unity and organization. Last week it was Ronnie (Ronnie Brown) and Carnell (Carnell Williams). Last night people called my phone, like 30 of my players, and told me, 'I keep hearing a rumor.' I told them it wasn't true because I don't even drink first of all and it was a DUI (rumor)."

Trying to deal with the rumors as quickly as possible and get the team on the right track for this weekend's game, Campbell and the seniors called a players only meeting on Sunday afternoon. The Mississippi native was one of the players that stood up and spoke and says he just wanted to make sure everyone knew how big this weekend's game was for this team.

"We just talked about how close we are to achieving our goals and what we want to do," Campbell says. "In order to do that we can't play the way we did Saturday. It was sloppy play and not staying focused and keeping the right attitude. We just wanted to let the young guys know, as much as the older guys, what's at stake. We can't rest on our laurels and think everything is going to happen for us. We have to continue to stay focused and continue to keep the right attitude."

Auburn's players are also trying to stay focused as they climb in the national rankings. Up to number three in the AP poll and fourth in the first Bowl Championship Series standings, Campbell says that the attention is good, but the focus for the Tigers is on improving each week to become a better team.

"It feels great," he says. "It's exciting that we're in this position. We have to be able to play with success and not think you're going to just go on the field and walk over people. Right now you look at our schedule and on down the line there are no more games like LA Tech. All of the games down the line are going to be physical games. They are going to come down to the fourth quarter. You have to come out and participate every play. You can't go any farther than the next play and I think that's something we have to get back focusing on, one snap at a time."

Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell takes a break during an earlier game this season.

The focus this week is on an Ole Miss team that has struggled for much of the season to find its identity. It shouldn't be too hard for the Tigers to get up for the game with all that is on the line. Throw in last season's heartbreaker to the Rebels in Auburn and Campbell says this is a game that his team is looking forward to playing.

"It was real tough," Campbell says. "It knocked us out of an opportunity to compete for the SEC West. Even though LSU ran the table down the line we could have had the opportunity to make a better bowl. At the same time I think we were down after last year's game heading to the Georgia game. That's something we were still struggling with the next week."

This season Auburn has everything going for it as the team heads to Oxford to face the Rebels. Currently 8-0, the Tigers could clinch the SEC Western Division title with a victory Saturday night. It would also keep all of Auburn's goals alive for a possible national title. Campbell says this is a huge game for the team heading into the only off week of the season before the final two games against Georgia and Alabama.

"It would mean a lot," Campbell says. "It would mean a lot going into our off week. It would give us the opportunity to get our legs back under us and give us the opportunity to focus on our two rivalries, the biggest two games of the year. It would mean a lot. Ole Miss has a good team so right now our main focus is totally on Ole Miss.

"It's going to be my last opportunity to play back at home," he adds. "It's an honor to be in this situation and to have the opportunity to play at home one more time and play in front of your home state. You just have to continue to keep pushing on."

The Tigers and Rebels will kick off at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday in Oxford, Miss., in a game that will be televised on ESPN.


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