Riding a hot streak after wins over LSU and Ole Miss, running back Ronnie Brown said the Tigers can't help but think about the upcoming Georgia and Alabama games, but they can't let that affect preparation for the Louisiana-Monroe Indians.
"Just a little bit," Brown said when asked if it would be difficult to focus this week. "We know the schedule that we have ahead looking forward, it's going to be real tough. We just can't look past anybody. They are a pretty capable team of playing us because if they weren't we probably wouldn't be playing us or we wouldn't have scheduled them.
"We really can't look past them and try to relax too much because then we would go back on some of the things we've learned over the last few weeks. That might cause a letdown and then we could get careless and let that carry over into the next week's game."
Offensively, that would mean a loss in the rhythm of the running game, something that has become a weapon for the Tigers this season and in particular the last three games behind Brown. Averaging just under 220 yards rushing a game in that time, quarterback Jason Campbell said Auburn can't afford to lose what they have going right now.
"We just have to come out and look at it as another game to get better," Campbell said. "It's another opportunity for us to go out and keep this thing going, keep rolling before we go down the stretch. We just have to stay focused and take this game like we take any other game. We have to be prepared and go out and work."
Defensively, the Tigers face a team that is very capable of scoring points in bunches out of a spread offense. Averaging 236.8 passing yards per game and 17.8 points, Louisiana-Monroe was held to just two points in a loss to North Texas despite getting 14 first downs in the first half alone and continuously shooting themselves in the foot. Defensive end Mayo Sowell said this is a week that takes care of itself if you want to be a championship team.
"I can't speak for the rest of the team," Sowell said. "I'm speaking for myself. I'm concentrating on Louisiana-Monroe. Personally, I have to get better at my position so it's a week to get better before those games. I wanted to get better against Ole Miss and I did. I just want to get better. This is a game against myself."
After a weekend that saw upset after upset with teams in the Top 10, Auburn is in prime position to overlook a team like the Indians, but Campbell said that is not an option for this team. Fighting for their lives in the SEC and in the chase for a lucrative bowl game following the season, this game is important for the season.
"We can't look ahead because right now we can't afford to look ahead," Campbell said. "A lot of teams are getting knocked off lately. That's going on around the country and we can't afford to look ahead. We know that we have two real tough games going down the stretch at the end that could determine our future. We really have to take this game as another opportunity to go out there and strive to get better."