Auburn, Ala.--For the Auburn Tigers, Saturday's game against the fourth-ranked and heavily favored Florida Gators was a chance to do something they had not done all season and that is play from in front. Establishing themselves early was huge for both sides of the ball but particularly on offense.
Struggling the first three weeks of the season, Auburn's offense finally caught fire in the second half of the New Mexico State game the week before. Junior center Jason Bosley says that they felt like it was important to get things rolling early and that's exactly what they did with a 14-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to get things going.
"I think that was huge," Bosley says. "Our whole gameplan was to go out there and hit them in the mouth. We did some things last year and we knew we could expose them offensively. I thought we had a really solid gameplan. We came out there and got after them. With Florida it's hard to go sideline to sideline with them but if you go right after them you've got a chance."
Playing for the second consecutive game with three true freshmen in the starting lineup on the offensive line, Bosley says it's weird that people now consider him the veteran of the group with as little experience as he's had in his career. One thing that Bosley says that is that he may be the leader up front but there's no questioning the leader of the offense after yet another impressive performance by Brandon Cox on the road in a big win.
"Somebody told me before the game ‘you're the old guy out there. You've got to be the leader'. I told them I'll do my best. It was hard for me too. There were times I couldn't hear Brandon with his cadence and in the huddle…I'm really proud of the way Brandon played last night. He had a big time ballgame last night."
With Ryan Pugh and Chaz Ramsey working into the rotation and becoming more familiar with full-time starters Bosley, Tyronne Green and fellow freshman Lee Ziemba, Bosley says that they're all coming together day by day. It's something he knows is going to take time but Coach Hugh Nall tells them he sees their progression as a unit.
"I think we are (coming together)," Bosley says. "Coach Nall says we're stating to get there but we've just got to keep working. We're coming off the ball good. There is a certain level he wants to see us get to and we're about halfway there. You think of all this work we're doing and we're only halfway there but you just have to keep working every day to get where you've got to be. I'm really excited. To go down there with three true freshman up there, that's unheard of. That doesn't really happen. I've never heard of it happening before.
"I think from the second half of New Mexico State on we've started to gel as a team," Bosley says. "I think you can see that from the outside looking in. We stopped turning the ball over and started playing offense, defense and special teams all together. The defense gets turnovers and we capitalize. You can tell there is unity starting to get developed. I hate to say it but if going through some adversity made us develop that then that's what you have to do. You pay that price and we just learn from it. I'm fully confident after last night we can go out and play anybody in the country and be successful. I think that's evident. It's pretty exciting."
Bosley also knows that this is the same team that just two weeks ago lost at home to Mississippi State. With the memory still fresh on the mind of the players, Bosley says that the team is getting prepared to carry their positive feelings over to this week's game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.
"That's what the coaches were preaching to us today that Florida is over and Vanderbilt is this weekend," Bosley says. "It's the SEC and week in and week out you've got to come to play or you're going to get beat. If we don't come to play this weekend we'll get embarrassed. Vanderbilt has got a good team and they've gotten better every year. They're going to come in here hungry for a win. We've got to play good."