Brink on what Cougs can expect at Auburn

THERE WAS ONE THING about playing at Auburn that still stands out to Alex Brink. With the Cougs opening their season at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, just as they did in 2006, we asked the record-setting WSU quarterback for insight. Was playing at Auburn different than your typical road game? It was. For starters, there were the beer cans.

Or rather, the beer cans in motion.

"This will tell you about it -- when we were riding in on the bus the day of the game, their fans had already been tailgating for something like three days," said Brink. "And they're all lined up, they're all bought in, and I'm looking out the window and then suddenly all of these beer cans are bouncing off the bus. It went on for a while.

"The atmosphere of going down South, the way the fans are, it jumps out at you right away. It's a whole different world when it comes to that. And it's exciting to play an SEC team with their tradition. It's an unbelievable place."

Because of that atmosphere, Brink says the Cougs would do well to remain grounded and not let the setting or fans affect their routine nor their focus.

"There's a different energy in playing at a place like Auburn, they're loud the whole time. When you walk out of the visitors tunnel, all the fans are leaning over the side. The energy really kicks up when the eagle flies down and it just goes on from there. It's on a different level," said Brink.

ONE OF THE MOST-MENTIONED topics this week for the Cougs heading into the game -- the temperature and humidity. (Conditions at kickoff are forecast to be 81 degrees and 75 percent humidity.) Mike Leach is taking his team down a day early to try and get his players acclimated a little better to it.

"That is a big one," said Brink of the humidity. "I used to wear wrist bands at that time and I had to take them off before the game even started because after just warming up and being out on the field, they were already drenched. It makes a difference, it's an adjustment.

"But I would also say that, from a mental standpoint, once the game gets going it doesn't matter. But before the game and when you warm up, it can be on your mind. You can get dehydrated a little quicker, but the faster you get over the mental side of it, the better."

Time difference is never a factor for players, says Brink, unless it's an time significantly different than players are used to, such as a very early start. The field at Auburn was in good shape and the visiting locker rooms are equivalent to what you find elsewhere, he says. The two teams are, however, different.

"The situation is a little different I think for the Cougs this year," said Brink. "Auburn was a Top 5 team when we were playing them and that presented a unique challenge in itself.

"They'll still be a challenge this year, but I think a lot of our players will have a lot of confidence."

  • Auburn's fans were loud, said Brink, and when it comes to the things they yelled at opposing players, it was fairly typical stuff. Two schools' fans stood out to him more over the course of his career – Oregon State and Colorado. "Oregon State's fans were (clever) and they're close to the field. Colorado's fans were clever too, and they're right on top of you. You could tell they had both researched the roster and done their homework," laughs Brink.

  • Brink, 28, has been working with the Taylor Barton Camps this spring and summer. He was released by Winnipeg of the CFL just before the season started but hopes to continue his playing career next season. Brink's pro career has seen him with Houston in the NFL, plus Winnepeg and Toronto in the CFL. With Winnipeg, he saw action in 26 games over three seasons, starting seven, and completed 226-of-398 passes for 2,573 yards with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

  • Brink is WSU's all-time leader in passing yards (10,913) completions (848) and TDs (76). Brink finished his senior year by completing 305-of-503 passes for a career high 3,818 yards and 26 touchdowns.

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