Gainesville, Fla.--When the Auburn Tigers took the field Saturday night in The Swamp, you could already tell a different team was on the field than the one that lost to South Florida and Mississippi State. The players were the same for the most part but the attitude was a completely different story.
"It was the beginning of our new season," Fannin says. "Our coaches said this was the beginning of a new one and it's a great way to start, with a win. We've still got some tough games coming up around the corner. We've just got to prepare hard and take it one game at a time."
That would seem to be the tough part to do for a team that had already lost two games and had road trips to Florida and LSU on the immediate horizon. That's where leadership comes in and Auburn got plenty of that Saturday night from quarterback Brandon Cox on offense and a multitude of guys on defense.
The Auburn offense huddles before taking one in for a touchdown.
As much as anything, Auburn's new attitude got a jump start against the Gators on the very first drive of the football game. Taking the ball down and scoring a touchdown, the Tigers got on the board first and let themselves know they were still a good football team says guard Tyronne Green.
"In the first half we came out and beat them to the punch," Green says. "It started in practice. The whole week we got after it at practice and we got after them in the game. It started with the first drive. We came down the first drive and scored. That got the momentum going and our confidence up. We told ourselves we could move the ball on them. We knew we could score on them."
Green was part of an offensive line that featured three true freshman starting on the road for the first time. That was fine early in the game when the Tigers jumped on top of the Gators but things got tough in the second half as the loud crowd got back in the game as well as the Florida team thanks to a Benjamin Tate fumble. Green says in the first few games the offense might have panicked but that wasn't on the menu Saturday night.
"It's like Coach Borges always says, recover," Green says. "If anything goes bad it's always recover. You can't look at what happened and let it get you down. That will keep you in a funk for the rest of the game. It was all about recovery and getting after them."
Auburn also had plenty of motivation to get the ship righted thanks in large part to being 20-point underdogs to the Gators when the week started. For a team that is one of the winningest in college football the last four years, Green says that was a slap in the face and also a wake up call.
"Everybody had us counted out for this game" Green says. "We were 20-point underdogs. We showed the world that we can play. This is a hard conference and we came out and showed everybody that we can compete. We regrouped, we recovered and we were ready.
"We lost the two in the past but you've got to put that behind you," Green adds. "We said tonight was going to be the start of our new season. We've still got a shot for SEC and to make a good bowl game. We've got to produce week in and week out."