It hasn't just been a monkey on the back of the senior class, but also a junior class that has had all the pressure of returning the Auburn program back to prominence. Guys like Hunter Morris, Brian Fletcher and Trent Mummey came in with a lot of fanfare and while they played well their first two seasons it didn't translate into enough victories for the Tigers to make the postseason.
This season has been different though as a veteran group of players made it a goal to get to the SEC Tournament and on Saturday that goal was achieved with the win over the Vols. Now 16-10 in SEC play, the most SEC wins for an Auburn team since that same 2003 season, Auburn can bask in the glow of achieving goal number one and Morris said it's now time to move on to the next challenge.
"We knew it would happen," Morris said. "We're disappointed that it didn't happen the last two years, but as a group we've matured together and grown together. We have a big family in the locker room. We're excited as we can be to have this happen. I think we all knew it was going to happen. For our class to be able to accomplish that together is a really exciting thing."
Before Auburn can worry about the SEC Tournament there is still plenty left to play for in the 2010 season. That's because on Saturday Arkansas and Ole Miss both lost, leaving the Tigers in a three-way tie for the lead in the division. Suddenly the Tigers switch gears from worrying about making the tournament to playing for a title. Junior Brian Fletcher said it's exciting to be playing the last four games with so much on the line.
"It's huge," Fletcher said. "It's one of our next goals. We don't want to stop. We want to keep rolling. To win the West would be huge. Hopefully we can pull out a win on Sunday and go to Ole Miss and be successful down there. We'll see what happens."
No matter how the season winds up from this point forward this Auburn team will be one that is remembered for quite a while. Having to overcome several key injuries early throughout the season, the Tigers have delivered time and time again and put themselves in position to win a division title. For Jenkins the SEC berth is something he's happy with, but he's not ready to finish what has become a fun year in his fifth and last year on the Plains.
"It's awesome," Jenkins said. "It's a good feeling to be going to Hoover and to have a chance to keep playing. It's a good feeling. It's good to have a new goal and that's our number one priority now, to win the West and to host a regional. That's it. That's all we're working on now…we've got our first goal in and our big thing now is to win the West."