Jackson Says Tigers Growing Closer

Noseguard Tommy Jackson comments on the Auburn football team and why he believes the Tigers are growing closer.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn football team played its best ball game of the year against South Carolina. The Tigers appeared to have fresh legs and a swagger in their stride that hasn't been shown all year, which senior T.J. Jackson says came from the team prayer meeting the night before.

"I'm going to remember that night," Jackson says of the meeting Friday night at the team hotel in LaGrange, Ga. "Just like some people remember after the LSU game (last season), I'm going to remember the night before the South Carolina game in prayer meeting. That was special. There was something really special happening in that room.

"We felt it," he adds. "Prayer meeting was the spirit of God. There was spirit in every man in there. Every man stopped playing for himself and every man played for somebody else next to him. That's what motivated the team play and that's what motivated people to do their job because they're not playing for themselves anymore. When people don't play for themselves something special comes out."

The first sign that the 2005 team may be regaining some of the aggressive, team-oriented attitude held in last year's run to an SEC title and Sugar Bowl victory was when the team came out of the locker room joined arm in arm.

"That's a part of it," he says. "I hate for people to think that it's gimmicky like that. That's not what it is at all. It's what happens when guys start to get close and guys feel like you can walk out of there arm in arm. We felt together, and when you feel together like that you hook up."

Jackson says that the togetherness of the team walking out of the tunnel in that fashion stems from the emotion and closeness that the entire team shared together in the meeting, which was lead by the team chaplain Chette Williams.

"Everybody said what was on their heart," Jackson says. "A bunch of guys got up and talked. We all prayed for each other. We were all able to get out everything out that you feel personally out into the open. Whatever you need to be prayed for, you were able to get it out and it was real personal.

"Guys were able to drop their guard and guys were able to feel each other," he adds. "How huge is that for you to tell another guy to pray for your mom for whatever reason. You'd be surprised, some of the deepest things, and you can share that with a bunch of other guys. That's huge."

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That swagger the carried the Tigers to a dominating defensive performance and a 48-7 victory. It was the 12th consecutive conference win as Auburn moved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC heading into a stretch of four of the next five games on the road, starting with Arkansas on Oct. 15.

"The Friday before the South Carolina game, the Friday night in prayer meeting, I think that's when we started to gel more and I think it's going to help us out," Jackson says.

"Once you get it, you get it," he adds. "It's kind of like it was last year. We got it and when kept going. That's what you look for. You look for that belonging and you look for that family. That's one of the best feelings you have. I can't remember a better feeling about a team."

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