Veteran Defender Says Badgers Offer Challenge

Will Herring, a second team All-SEC safety, discusses Auburn's bowl opponent as the Tigers put the finishing touches on the game plan for Wisconsin.

Orlando, Fla.--Facing a balanced offense with the passing of John Stocco and the running of Brian Calhoun, Auburn safety Will Herring says the Tigers must stop the run to slow down the Badgers' offensive attack.

Stocco has thrown for 2,619 yards and 19 touchdowns with an impressive rating of 148.4, but Herring and the Auburn defense believes the real threat comes from Calhoun. A transfer from Colorado, Calhoun has rushed for 1,423 yards and 21 scores on the ground and has also caught 52 balls for 563 yards and a pair of scores.

"Their offense is a real threat and they're real balanced with the run and the pass," Herring says. "They're averaging over 30 points a game this year (35.2) and they can beat you on the ground or through the air. We've got to come to play and we've got to shut the run down first and make them beat us through the air."

The Tigers have gone against several talented backs this season like P. J. Daniels, Darren McFadden, Joseph Addai and Thomas Brown, and Herring says that Calhoun is in the same class.

Brian Calhoun, a native of Wisconsin, originally signed with Colorado before he trasferred to become a star for the Badgers.

"He's definitely one of the best we're going to face all year," he notes. "We've got to shut down the run first. That's with anybody you play. He's an incredible athlete and we're going to have to bring some down into the box at times to make them beat us through the air."

If the Auburn run defense can shut down Calhoun it would likely mean a fourth consecutive bowl win for the program, which Herring attributes to head coach Tommy Tuberville. The Tigers beat Penn State 13-9 in the 2003 Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin 28-14 in the 2003 Music City Bowl and Virginia Tech 16-13 in the 2005 Sugar Bowl.

Will Herring

"Coach Tubs is real cool about when we get down here, we're down here for two reasons," Herring says. "Number one is to win the game. But we're also down here to have a good time. When it's time to play we play hard. We've had a great time down here.

"He lets us stay out at night more than some coaches would, but from here on out it's all business," he adds. "When we step between the lines it's all business."

The senior class has a chance to accomplish remarkable achievements with a win over Wisconsin. They have already beaten Alabama all four years, and now they have a chance to win all four bowl games and set the school record for wins in a four-year span.

Herring notes that while the seniors have been so successful, a win over the Badgers would build a lot of momentum heading into his final year at Auburn.

"To have gone out undefeated last year like we did and then this year, a lot of people wanted to say it was a fluke," he says. "And then to keep it going like they have. We want them to go out on a right note and keep the momentum going into next season, but they're going to be missed. We've got another group of guys coming up and we're just filling them in, so hopefully we can keep it rolling."

Herring and the Tigers had a light workout on Saturday, similar to a Thursday practice in a normal game week. The Tigers rehearsed their game plan at Freedom High School. On Sunday they will have a walk through at the stadium as they prepare for Monday's 1 p.m. CST (noon local time) Capital One Bowl Game vs. the 9-3 Wisconsin Badgers.

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