Auburn, Ala.--College football players are no different than their fans when it comes to handling defeat. While some put the game behind them and move on, others dwell on the game for a few days until moving on.
For the Auburn Tigers that is apparent quickly as players on both sides of that fence talked on Tuesday about getting over a humbling 45-20 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. Sophomore wide receiver Montez Billings says that his immediate action is to put it behind him and move on.
"I got over it as soon as we lost," Billings says. "You can't rely on it too long. We've got to get over it. We've got to push over it and move on if we want to win."
As a key part of Auburn's offense, Billings has been perhaps the most improved player for Coach Al Borges' unit this season after working through an injury that kept him less than full speed for much of the first half of the season. Against Georgia, Billings led Auburn in catches with three, but had just 21 yards.
That was the story for the Tigers as Auburn couldn't match points with the Bulldogs after taking a lead briefly in the third quarter. Billings says the failure to keep things going on offense is unexplainable for him.
"To tell you the truth I really don't know what happened," Billings says. "I guess we just weren't focused and concentrating. This week we have to get back to that if we want to win."
While Billings has moved on, the same can't be said for senior King Dunlap. Saturday was his final chance to defeat Georgia and the Tigers didn't get the job done. He says the only saving grace from the defeat is that they've still got one more big game left this season to make a statement.
"Everybody is still upset about what happened Saturday," Dunlap says. "It's going to be tough to swallow, but you just have to swallow it and get ready for Bama. No matter what it's still the Bama game. It's still the biggest game of the year for us. We've got to be ready because they are a good football team."
Auburn began work for Alabama with a short practice on Tuesday. Because the Tigers are off this weekend, things are a little more laid back than normal during the week, something Dunlap says this team needs at the moment.
"We kind of cut back a little bit today with the bye week," Dunlap says. "We didn't really go at it like we normally do on Tuesday. Usually it's pretty physical. We kind of cut it back today because they wanted us to get our legs back this week. Everybody is kind of drained after 11 straight. We got after it, but it wasn't as intense as Tuesday practices normally are."
The placement of the off week has been tough on Auburn this year as it has played all season without a break, but now it comes before the biggest game of the year for the Tigers. In a normal season this might not be the best time for a break and if you were riding high that could make it even more unfortunate to take a week off, but Dunlap says as far as he is concerned it's perfect timing.
"Normally sometimes when you lose a game you want to get back out there the next week and prove yourself," Dunlap says. "I think this week will help us. We've got a lot of guys bumped and bruised up and tired mentally and physically. This will give us a week to get Georgia off our minds. You can be mad about it the rest of the week if you want to, but by next week we've got to be ready for Bama. Georgia was a tough loss, but we've got to get over it and bounce back. The Bama game is always a big game."