Vaughn Kicks Back At Problems

Auburn kicker John Vaughn responds with solid day for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.-–The pressure was on. It wasn't a game-winner or even a kick that was vital to winning or losing for the Auburn Tigers, but when John Vaughn lined up for a 35-yard attempt in the second quarter he had all the pressure in the world on his shoulders.

After all it was just a week ago that Vaughn's five missed field goals hurt Auburn's chances to upset LSU in Tiger Stadium. Unsure of what to expect from the usually reliable junior from Nashville, the Auburn crowd gave Vaughn a cheer when he entered the game. That alone was something that special teams coach Eddie Gran says was very important for Vaughn and the team.

"It was awesome to hear the fans behind him because you know his heart was beating like crazy," Gran says. "Mine was beating, but I felt confident because of what he had done all week and he got it fixed.

"He didn't miss a field goal all week long," Gran adds. "In practice he fixed it and I really was confident about what he was going to do. I was proud for him. I was glad to see he fixed it."

Vaughn watches anxiously as he drills it through the uprights.

Not only did Vaughn step up and make the kick and send the crowd into the loudest cheer of the day, he later added a 39-yarder to cushion Auburn's lead. Both kicks split the uprights, but it was the first one that Vaughn says was the big one because he needed to get back in the groove right away.

"It was nice to go out there and get it over with, get going, move on as soon as possible is nice," Vaughn says. "I appreciate the coaches for sticking with me and giving me the opportunity to do that."

"It shows what it means to be a part of Auburn, this university," Vaughn adds. "People wrap their arms around each other and it makes you glad to be a Tiger. It might have been. It was noticeably louder, but I have just got to keep trying to do my job."

Vaughn could have had an earlier chance to get on the scoreboard against the Rebels as the Tigers faced a fourth-and-goal situation in the first quarter and the game still scoreless. Sensing a chance to jump on the visitors, coach Tommy Tuberville elected to go for the touchdown. It was a decision that Vaughn knew was coming and fully was in support of.

"Coach Tubbs is an aggressive coach and that is part of what makes him so great," Tuberville says. "We hadn't scored a touchdown since the South Carolina game, in the first half. So, I talked to my dad about it this week and he was like, 'son they might force the issue on fourth and short, not because you are not making kicks, but because we need to get in the endzone,' and that is how I tried to look at it.

"You know, it is about production," he adds. "The offense got us down there last week and I wasn't converting. I think he is an aggressive coach and that is how I tried to look at it, and that is why he is so good."

All week long the Tigers have been a close-knit unit in support of Vaughn. Players on both sides of the ball have come out in defense of the junior and have cheered him when making field goals in practice. He says that's part of the reason why the Auburn program is such a good one to be a part of.

"It just shows the character of this team," Vaughn says. "We wrap our arms around each other. We are a big family. All week everybody was so supportive. Every kick--it was kind of funny, I would make a 24-yarder and everybody would turn around and go, 'yeahhhh.' But, you know, it is just a great team to be a part of and I wouldn't trade it for anything."


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