Offense Gets Physical With Dogs

Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill talks about Saturday's win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.–-It didn't take long for the Auburn Tigers to see how Georgia would respond to its fourth consecutive road game. Taking the opening kickoff and driving the ball deep into Auburn territory, the Bulldogs missed a field goal, but got the attention of the Auburn fans and defenders.

Offensively it didn't seem to bother Coach Al Borges' group. Focused, just like they've been all season, the offense proceeded to march 80 yards in just eight plays for the game's opening score, a one-yard run by Carnell Williams. Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill says the opening drive for a score was the beginning of a good day and exactly the start they wanted.

"We can't even pay attention to that as an offense," McNeill says. "We can't let them offensively affect what we do offensively. We just wanted to go out there and execute better than they did."

Marcus McNeill blocks down on Georgia's Gerald Anderson during Saturday's game.

While execution was very important, for McNeill and company this game was about respect. Even with Auburn's dominating performance this season there were still those that said this team couldn't hang with the upper echelon of college football. McNeill says that winning this game up front was important for the offensive linemen and they made it happen.

"We really wanted to go out there and get physical with those guys," McNeill says. "I know David Pollack and Kedric Golston personally. I played basketball with a couple of the guys and went to camps with some of them. It's always a competition with them, a friendly rivalry. It was a good game and David Pollack is a wonderful person and a wonderful athlete. I just wanted to go out there and compete with him.

"It's real satisfying," McNeill adds. "It shows everybody that I can compete with anybody. I knew I could, but you just want to go out there and show everybody on national television that me and the Auburn Tigers could compete with anybody especially when we're on fire like we are now."

Blitzing the visiting Bulldogs with a dizzying array of runs and passes underneath the defense, Borges' innovative mind kept the defense off balance. That was true especially early when Auburn ran a variety of plays including a halfback pass and two reverse-out options. McNeill says those kinds of things keep a defense from getting a bead on what the offense is trying to get done.

"When you can establish the run and the pass you keep the defense on its heels," McNeill says. "You don't want to have a defense snarling down your neck like a rabid pit bull or anything, you have to keep them backing up on skates the whole game. That's why we came off and starting running mis-directions and then running the inside zone plays. Coach Borges did a wonderful job, like he does week in and week out, of preparing the gameplan to compete with the defense.

"That's stuff that Coach Borges put in specifically for the Georgia defense," McNeill says of the trick plays. "Coach Borges does a wonderful job of dissecting each team so he knows what the team is going to do. He doesn't just keep one gameplan, his gameplan changes constantly. At first it was kind of hard changing gameplans every week and not staying with just power football, but as you can see it's working tremendously."

After rolling up 404 yards of total offense on the day and pummeling one of the country's best teams the Tigers now have to sit and wait on Monday's newest BCS announcement to see if Saturday's victory was good enough to move to number two. Whether that happens or not, McNeill says that it's not going to change how this team works because they've been there and done that. Now it's all about taking care of business.

"We're going to let the polls take care of themselves," McNeill says. "We did a good job out there of showing the world what we can do. If we're not in front of Oklahoma there's nothing we can do about it. All the whining in the world is not going to put us in front of Oklahoma. Playing like we did tonight is going to put us in front of Oklahoma."

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