AU Safety Still Aiming for SEC Title

Auburn, Ala.--Despite his team's overtime loss to divisional rival LSU, Will Herring says he believes his Tigers are very much in picture to win the SEC West and earn a spot in the league's championship game.

Herring, who leads Auburn in tackles through seven games, has 18 solo tackles and 25 assists.

"We watched film and I think it just confirmed what we already knew that the effort was incredible," the junior free safety says. "Guys fought their hearts out for 60 minutes and that is something we have been stressing. At the same time, there were just a few key plays here and there that we didn't make when we had a chance to and they did."

The 20-17 loss was the first conference setback for the Tigers since losing at Georgia in 2003. Despite the loss, Herring says the showdown in Baton Rouge with LSU was the kind of football game that he enjoys.

"It was fun," he notes. "It was probably one of the most fun games I have ever played in. For our defense to come out and dominate the way it did most of the game was fun, especially having to battle back from behind in that environment. It was a fight. To battle back and come that close to winning really hurt, but stepping back from the thing I think our defense grew up and I think we are a better ball club."

Auburn is 3-1 in the SEC while LSU improved to 4-1 and must lose a game to unbeaten Alabama, Ole Miss or Arkansas for Auburn to have a chance to represent the SEC West in Atlanta. "The SEC is a tough conference and LSU has a tough road ahead of them and so do we," Herring says. "I think if we win out, we will definitely be in Atlanta. That is the way I feel."

Will Herring is in his third season as a starter for the Tigers.

Auburn plays Ole Miss at 11:30 a.m. in a home game at Jordan-Hare Stadium before taking road trips to Kentucky and Georgia before closing the regular season at home vs. Alabama.

Five missed field goals by John Vaughn were a major issue for the Tigers in Baton Rouge, but Herring and his teammates point our the Tigers had numerous other opportunities to win the game. Herring says that if the defense hadn't given up a couple of big gainers on broken plays the Tigers would still be unbeaten in the SEC.

"They had three big pass plays," he notes. "We had our guys covered up. Their quarterback scrambled around and bought extra time. In that situation we just have to play backyard ball and find a man and lock on him. They hit us on those on big plays. That long pass that set up the tying field goal and the first one set up their first touchdown."

Herring and the Tigers are off on Monday and will return to the practice field on Tuesday to resume preparations for Ole Miss. The game will be televised regionally on JP.

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