This time the pressure and negative talk is coming from what is usually the backbone of the Auburn program, the fans. Hearing whispers since Saturday after a chorus of boos greeted the team much of the second half, the players have been forced to look within themselves to get the ship righted as they head to Florida this weekend to face a Florida team with their backs to the wall.
"It's funny when you win everybody is with you and when you lose everybody is against you," redshirt freshman offensive tackle Taylor Bourgeois said. "It's kind of one of those deals. You hear whispers and you hear things in class. We just have to turn our backs if things aren't going good. That's all right, I guess. They pay their money and they have their own opinions. I don't understand it, but we're going to continue to fight and do the best we can."
Quarterback Daniel Cobb knows more than anyone the pressures of performing well on Saturdays. The focus of most of the boos and blame for Auburn's less-than-perfect season this year, the senior said he hears things on campus and heard the crowd last Saturday, but he's focused on keeping the Tigers on track towards their goal of getting to Atlanta for the SEC title game.
Daniel Cobb throws a pass during Tuesday's practice.
"I don't think we're up against the wall yet," Cobb said. "I don't think we're out of it. Every year there has been teams that go to the championship game with about two losses. If we go down to Florida and get beat then we'll have our backs up against the wall then. Right now we're regrouping and putting this one behind us. I think everyone has done that now. We had a day off and it's behind us, everyone is ready to get focused on Florida now. To be honest with you the players, we don't really get involved in counting losses and how many it's going to take to get there. We're thinking of how many victories we're going to try to have. We're not planning on losing another one."
Wide receiver Silas Daniels said it has been tough to deal with since Saturday for the entire team. Hearing the talk in class and from friends, the Jacksonville, Fla., native said it might be a good thing for them to get away from the campus this week and rally the troops against the Gators. He noted that it could be especially good for his quarterback, who has caught the brunt of the complaints this week.
"It's a real good time for that," Daniels said. "We're going somewhere else rather than playing in Auburn. We'll probably play better on the road and if he (Daniel) can show that he can go in The Swamp and get a win that will be the best thing for him."
While it seems at times like a significant portion of the Auburn family is against him, Cobb still manages to carry on and work towards the next football game. Perhaps the reason why is the fact that the coaching staff still has faith in his abilities. Getting a vote of confidence from offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino earlier in the week showed him that they still believe in him. He said that was important for him at this time because of all the negative talk he's received since Saturday.
"It means a tremendous amount that your coach still believes in you," Cobb said. "They say that when the coach stops yelling at you it's a bad thing because he's given up on you. To know that he hasn't given up on me means a lot because I've put everything I have into learning this offense and doing whatever is asked of me throughout the year. That goes before the season also. I have invested a lot of time and effort and energy into this, just as he has. It means a lot to me to know that he's still in my corner."
Cobb will lead his team into Florida Field looking to get back on the winning track and stay in the hunt for the SEC Championship Game. While the Gators are on a slide he said that it doesn't change the fact that a talented team awaits the Tigers on Saturday.
"I suspect it will be a challenge," he noted. "Any team, any time you go into a hostile environment like that against a team like Florida, even though they've lost a couple, it doesn't change they fact they're still loaded with athletes, ability and talent. I still think they would match up against anybody in the country right now. We have our work cut out for us. We just have to have a good week of game planning. It would be that much more special if we could go down there and put a victory together."