Senior Trying to Make a Difference for Tigers

John Vaughn has played a huge part in Auburn's 8-1 start this season.

Auburn, Ala.--With the Auburn offense having a difficult time putting the ball in the end zone at times this year, a difference-maker at kicker in John Vaughn might be what separates Auburn from being a one-loss team to a two to three-loss team.

Kickers often take the blame for losses in tight ball games when they miss kicks, but are often overlooked in close wins. Vaughn was 4-5 on field goals and 1-1 on extra points in Auburn's win over then-No. 2 Florida three weeks ago, which proved to be the difference in the score, and he was 3-3 on field goals and 2-2 on extra points in the Tigers' six-point win over Ole Miss on Saturday.

"I've had a lot of opportunities and I'm just trying to do my part," Vaughn says. "I've had a lot of help with the offense getting us down there. The protection has been good all season and we haven't had any blocked. We haven't really had a lot pressure. Good snaps and good holds is making my job easier.

"We've had a little trouble putting it in at the end this year," he adds. "That's what I'm here for, to help out when we come up short. I just try to do my job as best as I can and it's made it a lot easier to get in the rhythm. I've had a lot of opportunities and I think that's helped a little bit."

Vaughn is 17-20 on field goals this year and has made all 26 extra point attempts. With confidence playing so much of an issue, getting on a hot streak is important for a kicker. Vaughn hit 4-5 to end the season last year and started off 2006 with a bang by making 4-4 in the first half of Auburn's 40-14 win over Washington State.

"I've got a lot of confidence," he says. "I'm feeling it, I guess you could say. You can't be complacent and I learned that last year. I was kicking pretty good and the wheels came off. I've got to work hard because there is always something I could get better at. I've got to get better as the season goes. Right now I'm hitting it the best I've ever hit it."

Vaughn, who has made a field goal in eight of nine games this season, has already kicked his way to the top of several Auburn all-time lists.

Vaughn, who is Auburn's all-time leading scorer with 295 points, is also kicking the ball harder than ever. His career long during his first three seasons was just 43 yards. So far this season he has connected from 44, 45, 46, 52 and 55. He contributes that to his offseason work in the weight room on leg strength and flexibility.

He is second in the nation in field goals made, just one behind UCLA's Justin Medlock, and is a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza Award.

"I set my goals really high and expected to have a good season," Vaughn says. "It's do or die. It's my last season and I want to finish strong. I've just tried to work as hard as I can and try to enjoy every minute of it.

"In your senior season you really try to make a difference, especially since it's your last chance. I think we've done a good job of pulling our weight this year. We still have some big games coming up and we'll try to be a big factor."

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