Tigers Focus On Pulling In The Same Direction

Auburn linebacker Jake Holland and wide receiver Sammie Coates both talked about the leadership for the Tigers following a 1-4 start and what needs to happen to get back to winning.

Auburn, Ala.—Sunday night following the loss to Arkansas, veteran players T'Sharvan Bell and Philip Lutzenkirchen talked about how some players needed to get on board with what the Tigers are doing to help the team get back on the winning track.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sammie Coates sent his own message on Tuesday as well, challenging the leaders of the team to do more.

"Some of the older guys, they want it, but they don't want it bad enough," Coates said. "We don't have enough leadership on the team. The leadership has got to come from somebody; the quarterbacks, the running back.

"Somebody has to step up...that's the only way we're going to step through this," he added. "We don't have enough leadership. Everybody wants to talk about how they want to win, but nobody is showing how they want to win. I think that's frustrating for me because we've got the team to do good and everybody isn't buying into that yet so I think that's what makes people mad about the whole situation."

Coates said that it is not just on the older guys because he and the younger players have to step up and take responsibility now, but it was clear that he is not seeing the kind of leadership he was expecting in 2012.

"The older guys, they put a lot on the older guys but they're not showing much," Coates said. "The coaches always are talking about leadership, but there is nobody really trying to be a leader. They talk about it all the time, but you don't see it. We talk about how we want to be a better man, better football players and all that, but nobody is stepping up to the plate to take advantage of that."

A veteran defensive player, linebacker Jake Holland said from what he's seen the leadership has been doing a good job of setting an example this season.

With the defense and offense in different places right now with the defense moving forward and improving, it's not surprising that things may seem much better on that side of the ball. Holland said on Tuesday that all his team can do is work hard to win a football game and put everything else behind.

"The overall state of this team has never changed," Holland declared. "We have leaders on this team, I have to disagree with Sammie on that. The leadership on this team has been the same since day one, you know, and the seniors are doing a good job of that. It's just about bringing the team together and just continuing to move toward that goal. Again, I think when you don't start out the way you want, you kind of start pointing fingers, but you can't do that.

"That's something that young players do," the linebacker added. "You can't be weak-minded, you can't do that. In football you have to have a short memory. Every play is not going to go the way you want it to, you know.

"Just to reference defense, the offense is going to get explosive plays. You have to bow your neck and play the next play. It's just the same reference here. We didn't start out the way we wanted to so we have to bow our neck and play the next play. We have to start winning."

Coates agreed with Holland that winning is the ultimate goal. With the wide receivers stepping up to a recent challenge from Chizik, Coates added now it's time for everyone to pull their weight and get the Tigers back in the winning column.

"He challenged the wide receivers to go out there, step up and play, but I think it's time for everybody to step up and play," Coates said

"He challenged everybody Sunday," the receiver added. "He told us to either step it up, become a man, take care of our business, or we're going to keep bending over and getting run over. We've got to play together as a team and be behind each other's back 100 percent. That's the only way we're going to win."

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