"Anytime you can spoil a team's hopes and dreams, that's what you thrive for as a player," Taylor says. "All these guys are competitors just like we are. If we were in the opposite position we would go at them full speed. They're looking to spoil our thing, but as long as we just focus on ourselves we'll handle our business."
Courtney Taylor has blossomed into a big-play threat for the Tigers.
Ranked third in the country, the 9-0 Tigers square off with the fifth-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1) in the biggest SEC game this season and one of the biggest for an Auburn team in the last 25 years. The meeting is the 12th all-time between teams ranked in the Top 10 to be held at Jordan-Hare Stadium and the first Auburn-Georgia game to hold that distinction. The hoopla surrounding the game does not escape Taylor, who says he's been ready all week for Saturday.
"Your whole life you watch it on TV and when it finally gets here you're like, 'Hey, this is what I've been dreaming about my whole life,'" Taylor says. "It's finally here, a big game like this. This will probably be the biggest game I've been a part of. I'm excited and ready to play.""
While at first look Georgia would seem to be a team you would relish having two weeks to prepare for, Taylor says that Auburn continued to do what they've done all season. While game planning for an opponent is important, the Tigers have been more concerned with their own play and how they would execute on Saturdays.
"The only thing we're focused on is ourselves," Taylor says. "That's been our main thing all year. One game at a time and just focus on us. Of course, Georgia is coming to town and they're very talented, but as long as we focus on us I feel like we'll be okay."
One of the reasons this team has been able to stay grounded and not worry about the opposition has been the leadership of seniors like Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown, Carnell Williams and Danny Lindsey on the offensive side of the ball. Taylor says that the calmness, focus and fun those players bring each week has been a big influence on the rest of the team.
"I feel like it has contributed a lot," Taylor says of the senior leadership. "Those guys realize that it's their last year. I don't think anybody has played in the SEC Championship Game or anything, but they know it's their last year and their last opportunity. We've got something special here and they don't want to waste it. They want these memories and I want to be a part of it. I'm going to do everything I can do to help them out."
Perhaps the epitome of this year's senior class is Brown. A dominating running back in his own right, Brown has shared time with Williams at tailback and is also the starting fullback in Coach Al Borges' offense. For the season Brown has rushed for 689 yards on just 95 carries and is second on the team with 18 receptions for 176 yards in eight games. Taylor says that watching Brown's play this season has been a learning experience for everyone involved in the program.
"He's not selfish at all," Taylor says of Brown. "He knows that he's going to get his chance to make plays. He's the type of guy that motivates everybody around him. He'll kid around (and say something) like 'everybody makes plays. You make plays and I make plays.' He really doesn't care. I think that's why we have a lot of success on this team. There is a lot of unselfishness, everybody is getting a chance to make plays."
Both Brown and Williams could have gone to the NFL before this season and taken the over 1,500 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns with them. The same is true of Jim Thorpe Award finalist Carlos Rogers, who has played lights out this season at cornerback. Taylor says that the decisions of those three players changed this season forever and set the tone for a run that he hopes is still far from over.
"Earlier this year I said that I felt like this was the year we should have had last year," Taylor says. "With those guys coming back I felt like we did have a chance to do something special this year."