Kris Frost and Auburn look to celebrate on Saturday
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Thanksgiving and the Iron Bowl are next week. Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp says he hasn't spent time on that.
"We're focused on Idaho and getting bowl eligible. We'll worry about that week when it comes," Muschamp said as he prepared for Saturday's 3 p.m. game against the Vandals in Jordan-Hare Stadium that will be televised by SEC Network Plus.
Auburn is 5-5 and may be shorthanded. Quarterback Sean White is recovering from injuries, including a bad knee; center Austin Golson isn't expected to play because of a hurt knee; offensive back Shon Coleman could be limited because of a leg injury; defensive back Tray Matthews hasn't played the last two games because of an ankle injury; and Jeremiah Dinson is out for the year with knee and shoulder injuries.
Idaho is 3-7 and has made the near-cross-country trip for the third time to play in Alabama this season. The Vandals have beaten Troy in Troy, and lost to South Alabama in Mobile.
Saturday's game is Military Appreciation Day, and it will be the 15th straight sellout in Jordan-Hare. Next Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Alabama will be a sellout, as well, of course.
Auburn-Idaho will feature two of the best kickers in the country in the Tigers' Daniel Carlson and the Vandals' Austin Rehkow. They are tied for the most field goals in the country this season, with 20.
Carlson has hit 14 straight field goal attempts, and that's an Auburn record.
Auburn needs one win to become bowl eligible, and that's a big deal, says offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, because of bonus practices.
"They're huge," he said. "You hear that all the time, but it really is huge. It's like another spring practice."
Lashlee said bowl practices are particularly important for the players who are redshirted and for those who haven't played much.
"It's also a huge reward for the older guys, especially those seniors. Bowl games are fun, and are meant to be fun. They get the cool gifts and all of that, but, more importantly, you just want to win and go out the right way. That's what I talked about to the offense on Sunday and we did again on Monday is: We've got to finish well. The season has been up and down. It's been frustrating for a lot of us. But how you finish matters, and finishing well matters.
"Last year, at times, we did some good things, but we didn't finish the way we wanted to. Even the year before, we played for the national championship, we were 13 seconds away from finishing the way we wanted to. So how we finish will say a lot about how those kids feel about this season at the end. We're just trying to finish well, and that starts with this game this week. Yeah, if we win it gets us bowl eligible and that's good, but we just need to get a win for these guys."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine
— AuburnPix (@AuburnPix) November 21, 2015