Smith And Seniors Hoping To Keep Streak Alive

Auburn senior wide receiver Rod Smith talks about his final Alabama game and the chance to continue the streak.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming into the 2008 season if one team had entered the Iron Bowl undefeated the odds-on favorite would have been the Auburn Tigers. Instead Alabama is the team undefeated and ranked first in the nation while the Tigers limp in with a record of 5-6. Senior wide receiver Rod Smith says it's still hard to fathom what went so wrong this season.

"If you had said we were going to be 5-6 right now I would have said you were crazy," Smith says. "It's crazy how things work. Sometimes things don't work out for you. The hype was all on the offense. We started out rough. I think we've gotten better every week. It's definitely tough when expectations are so high for you when you don't live up to it, but I think we've gotten better each week."

Making a change at the offensive coordinator position halfway through the season, Auburn has had a rollercoaster of emotions both on and off the field. That has led to very mixed results, mostly of the negative variety. This season the Tigers have lost four conference games by five points or less, something that until this season had been a strength for the Tigers. Smith says those are the kinds of things you remember, but try to soon forget.

"It's definitely frustrating to go back and think what might have happened," Smith says. "That's kind of been on my mind a lot, just thinking about all the things that could have happened. When you start dwelling on that stuff it gets worse. You just have to keep moving forward and get better as the week goes along and try to prepare for the next game."

The last of the close games came the last time out for Auburn as the Tigers made a strong run before falling 17-13 to the Georgia Bulldogs. Twice in the final quarter Auburn's offense drove the ball into position inside the Georgia 20-yard line before coming up short on fourth down.

While the ultimate goal of winning didn't happen, there were some good signs on offense. Smith says many of them likely go back to the decision by the coaching staff to use the huddle once again instead of calling signals from the sidelines.

"It was kind of exciting to see we were going to back to some of the old stuff we did with the huddle," Smith says. "I think it's a good thing for us when you can get in the huddle because everybody kind of knows you're on the same page. You're going to get the right call from the quarterback."

After a week off, Smith and the Tigers resumed practicing for the Crimson Tide on Sunday. While the extra week only adds to the pressure and anxiety for both teams, Smith says this year he feels like it's a big advantage for his team heading into the final game.

"I think it's a good thing just for guys to get back healthy," Smith says. "We've had a tough season with the injuries. I definitely think it's a good thing to try to get our legs back and get a lot of rest."

With six consecutive wins in the series, Auburn is already on the best streak ever against the Crimson Tide. While six is good Smith says seven is even better and would cap off a tough season very nicely.

"It means a lot," Smith says. "Me and the other seniors on the team, we have always talked about that. We don't want to be known as the class that ends the streak against Alabama. We want to go out the right way. What better way to do it than beating Alabama."

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