Brink: Cougs looking to take care of business

COUGAR QUARTERBACK ALEX Brink exuded quiet confidence Wednesday while talking about the underdog Cougars' chances this weekend at Auburn against the Associated Press's No. 4-ranked team. While giving Auburn, a two-touchdown favorite, credit for what looks to be a dynamite team on paper, Brink knows his club can win it and expressed great faith in the Cougs' offensive line.

"Their front four is good and … they have really good corners," Brink said. "I understand they're moving a safety down to linebacker, but it should be an easy transition. Both (defensive) ends are experienced, but we have experienced tackles (in Charles Harris and Bobby Byrd). They're a pair we have to control to be successful in the running or passing game."

In regard to the OL, which also includes returning starter Sean O'Connor at guard, fifth-year senior Josh Duin at center and third-year sophomore Dan Rowlands at the other guard, he said, "we've got a good group of starters, but we've also got a few guys (on the bench) who can step in and play," Brink said. The second unit consists of tackle Derek Hunter and center Kenny Alfred, plus two guards who are banged up, Scott Friberg (hip/knee) and Justin Luafalemana (thumb). Friberg is unlikely to make the trip to Auburn.

Fans and media have made a big deal about the supposed contrasting styles of play in the SEC and the Pac-10, but Brink does not see much difference.

"Everybody is similar. There may be some different styles between conferences. They're style may be a little more smash mouth," said the 6-3, 215-pounder from Eugene. "We feel like we've got to keep a (fast) tempo. When we slow things down, we get in trouble."

Brink, a junior who will be making his 17th career start, also said the Cougars will be ready for playing in an unfamiliar, hostile stadium with heat and humidity they're are not accustomed to. "I know what to expect, and I know we've got a few guys who have played in it before. We're not going to be stressed out about it.

"Auburn's fans are going to be very spirited. We know they will be loud and rowdy and we're looking forward to (playing in that atmosphere)," Brink said. "It is a business trip," he added. "The enjoyment of the experience is mostly for the fans. We are focused on the outcome of the game."

Auburn's defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, said he thought Brink is a type of athlete who plays with a chip on his shoulder. Brink agrees with that assessment.

"Definitely. I wasn't the most recruited or the most physical guy. I do feel I have something to prove," Brink said.

While talking about the number of close games the Cougars lost last year Brink said, "We feel good. We have a great group of coaches and guys to get back out there and fight again. We have gone through some growing pains and learned from them."


On facing the No. 4 in the nation:
"We feel like this a chance to come out and prove ourselves. We play some good football too. We feel like this is a winnable game."

On Auburn's running game:
"We think we can contain their running game. It's probably nearly impossible to completely stop, but we think we can contain it."

On the Iron Bowl:
"I don't know much about the Auburn-Alabama rivalry. I probably know as much about it as they know about the Apple Cup."

On Auburn QB Brandon Cox:
"Between the first and second year there is a big improvement. People talk about the game slowing down. As you see more defenses you become more comfortable."

His opening statement:
"We think it's an exciting opportunity to play a big-time conference and school, and we're looking forward to it."

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