Tiger Says His Team Will Be Ready For Bama Game

Auburn has plenty to play for this week as the Tigers head to Tuscaloosa and one of Auburn's key players explains why.

Auburn, Ala.--Junior Rosegreen sums up the feelings of Auburn football players, past and present, when he talks about the importance of this week's showdown against archrival Alabama.

"This is a real big game," the redshirt sophomore strong safety says. "You know, it was a heartbreaker last Saturday on CBS, but we get another shot on CBS to redeem ourselves. Plus, this is the Iron Bowl game. If you can't get up for this game, then you don't need to be playing the game of college football."

The excitement level is picking up daily with the Auburn football team that is trying to bounce back from a numbing last minute 24-21 home loss to the Georgia Bulldogs last week. The depression of Saturday night has given way to the normal anticipation you would expect from Auburn football players during Iron Bowl week.

Junior Rosegreen

"Everybody's excited," Rosegreen says. "We are just ready for this game. We are going to come out there and execute the defense and play with some emotion. We know there is going to be a lot of blood and a lot of fighting, but that is why you play the game of college football. We are going to come out there and play a physical game."

Last year, Alabama's offense made the Auburn defense look bad trying to defend the Tide's most productive play, the "smoke draw," which is part of Bama's option package. Auburn is playing a different defensive scheme this year and has been tweaking that to get ready for the Tide offense.

"I know if we just execute our defense, and everybody holds their gaps and contains their gaps, I think we'll do a good job on the draw play," Rosegreen says. "A lot of people, the teams that they play, they are getting out of their gaps and overrunning the play so it was wide open for them."

With major injury concerns with the Auburn offense, many are questioning what type of chance the Tigers have to win this game going into Tuscaloosa against a 9-2 Tide team that is playing good football. Rosegreen says such talk doesn't matter and he expects everybody who can contribute to answer the bell on Saturday. "They are going to get up for the Alabama game just because it's a rivalry and they are right across the street from us. There ain't no game like this game in college football so I think we are going to have a good chance of winning the game. We have got to play our best game to beat Alabama."

Rosegreen says that stopping the Tide running game will be a high priority for the safeties this week. "Santonio Beard reminds me of Ronnie Brown," Rosegreen says. "And, the other one (Shaud Williams), he reminds me of a speed back. You let him get out of the gate, he'll take it the distance. Santonio Beard, he probably can do the same thing, but he is a bigger, more powerful back. So, we are just going to have to come out there, me and (free safety) Travaris Robinson, and we're going to have to get in the run support a little more. Our corners are going to have to cover on their own a lot. We have just got to come up, and tackle well, and rally to the ball."

Rosegreen says that Tide QB Tyler Watts is a dangerous runner, too. "If he gets open, he is going to take off and run and he can run like a running back."

The Tigers and Tide kick it off for just the fourth time in Tuscaloosa. Auburn has won the three previous meetings in Tuscaloosa, all in shutouts, including a 9-0 decision in 2000. Rosegreen says the Tigers have a tough assignment. "This is one of the best teams we are going to be facing," he says. "They have a lot of seniors. They have been playing together for a long time and they know each other."

A victory by the Tigers will keep Auburn in the hunt for the SEC West title and keep alive hopes for a rematch with the Georgia Bulldogs. However, for that to happen the Tigers are going to need Arkansas to lose one of its final two SEC games and for LSU to lose another game, too.


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