Tigers Making Progress, McFadden Says

Auburn junior cornerback Walter McFadden and the Tigers are turning their attention to the Iron Bowl matchup vs. Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite falling short in a 17-13 loss to No. 10 Georgia on Saturday, junior cornerback Walter McFadden says the Auburn Tigers have plenty of confidence going into the Iron Bowl.

"We have nothing to lose now," McFadden says. "What else can happen?"

Auburn has now lost six games, the most in a season since 1999. But the Tigers' performance against 10th-ranked Georgia was one of their better ones. They Tigers led in the fourth quarter and had numerous chances to beat the Bulldogs.

"It gave us more confidence to go into the next game," McFadden notes. "We're getting better every week. We're not just a first-half team, as you can see now. We're growing as a team."

Part of that growth, for the defense, was just having most of its starters back. Auburn's defense has been plagued by injuries all season, forcing second stringers to start or see significant playing time. The youth and inconsistency took its toll in the second half of most games.

Saturday, most of the starters were back, and McFadden said it was noticeable.

"It's different," he points out. "The excitement is there. Everybody is not complaining about this injury or that. Everybody is back. There's love. We're happy with what we did (vs. Georgia). It's a sad loss, but it's a lot better than what we have been doing.

"It's great to have all of us back," he adds. "It's like the first week. It's like, I know what this person can do. I feel more comfortable with this person beside me. Even if the backups did come in, we did feel comfortable, but it was a great atmosphere out there. It was great to have them back."

McFadden made several big plays that kept the Dawgs out of the end zone and got started early. In the game's opening minutes, he kept Georgia from scoring by defending a third-and-two pass at the Auburn three. On the next play, Auburn's Tez Doolittle blocked a Georgia field goal attempt and McFadden scooped it up and returned it to the 22.

The Bulldogs racked up 94 rushing yards in the first quarter, forcing Auburn's defense to make a few adjustments.

"Our main thing was stop the run," McFadden says. "(Tailback Knowshon) Moreno started getting out of the pocket and hitting a lot of holes on us so we had to make adjustments and stop the run.

(Matthew) Stafford's a great quarterback," McFadden adds. "He made throws in tight spots. I believe we controlled the passing game a little bit, but he did a great job. We didn't beat him. He won so I guess he had the upper-hand."

McFadden says Auburn's defense, energized by the return of its now healthier first-stringer, had a solid performance against the Bulldogs.

"As a defense we stepped up every time we were called upon," he said. "When the offense made a bad mistake or missed field goals, I believe we stepped out there with the attitude that we can stop them. And most of the time, we did. The last two or three weeks we've been trying to get everybody back and get everybody with the same attitude and not worrying about problems."

Now, Auburn will enter the Iron Bowl ready to put everything on the line, he says. The past with its six losses is behind them. They are pressing on.

"The frustration hit us because we never thought this would happen to us--six losses now," McFadden says. "But the frustration has left us now because we have the attitude, what else can happen? We don't have anything to lose. There's only one game left, so what else do we have? We have nothing to lose."


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