Williams Says Tigers Had Extra Motivation

Senior middle linebacker Travis Williams talks about the talk done by Alabama leading up to the game.

Auburn, Ala.—-If you think the term ‘Bulletin Board Material' is overused when talking about sports, think again. This week the sound bites and reading material was plenty coming out of Tuscaloosa as running back Kenneth Darby and linebacker DeMeco Ryans both talked a big game, but in the end Auburn linebacker Travis Williams says it was his team that delivered.

"I think it was a lack of respect," he adds. "I think they got full of themselves. They won some games this year by the skin of their teeth and we were watching it all year. We were like ‘these boys keep escaping'. We really wanted them to be undefeated coming into this game so we could really make them look bad. They don't like us and we don't like them. It's no secret. We came out and just whooped them.

"It was big," he adds. "We try to carry ourselves with a lot of class. Even sometimes when teams aren't good we try to find something good to say about them. All we were hearing is how their running back wanted the ball more and their linebacker saying they were going to keep us to zero points. Our whole thing was respect. You've got to respect us."

Williams is fired up after a big defensive play.

The lack of respect theme went even deeper this week as word got back to the Auburn players that Alabama was in shorts and helmets while the Tigers practiced twice in full pads and everyday in at least shoulder pads. He says that was the clincher for this team and they would be ready come Saturday.

"For some reason they were practicing in helmets all week and we were practicing in full gear," Williams says. "I don't know if they thought they were playing a I-AA team or what. This is the Iron Bowl. You better bring your best. What it came down to is that we were more physical and better conditioned."

The physical nature started early as the Tigers sacked Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle eight times in the first half on the way to a season-high 11 for the game. Williams says they weren't doing anything special to get more pressure, just turning loose the defensive line.

"We started sending some blitzes, but in the first when we had all the sacks it was just a four-man rush," Williams says. "Guys like Stanley McClover, Quentin Groves and Marquies Gunn started putting on the heat. They didn't know where it was coming from. The coaches did a great job in our preparation and we just made the play."

Coming into the game much of the talk concerned Auburn's ability to move the football against a tough Alabama defense. In the end the game centered around the Tigers' defense and the job they did cornering the Crimson Tide early.

"Our whole goal was to earn respect," Williams says. "Going into the Kentucky game we led the league in scoring defense. We let Kentucky score some points and Georgia score some points and we kind of faded away. We were like ‘we're still a good defense so don't overlook us'. They're defense was saying we weren't going to score and getting to full of themselves. We just gave them an old fashioned whooping."

For now Auburn's regular season is finished. The Tigers must now hope that LSU loses to either Ole Miss or Arkansas to finish the season. That would send Auburn to the SEC Championship game where the Tigers would have a shot at their second-straight BCS bowl. Williams says that no matter what happens next weekend he believes the Tigers deserve just one destination for the holidays.

"BCS," Williams says. "I think we deserve a BCS bowl no matter what. Everybody saw the dominance of our team. We're one of the best teams out there. We slipped up twice. I wish we could take it back, but we can't."

"That's all we can do is keep hope alive," he adds. "We're just going to go home and be with our families and be thankful. We're going to be thankful for being alive and for winning four in a row against Alabama."

"It's just great. I can come back 10 years from now or 20 years from now and I've never lost to them. I can talk to some Alabama guys and they're going to say ‘we played hard and we did this', but that wasn't good enough."

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