Nov. 24, 2013
It's all business for Gus Malzahn and Auburn this week (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. - The biggest week in Auburn's surprising football season has arrived, and coach Gus Malzahn says he's trying to stick to the script that has delivered the goods for the Tigers.
"You have extra time with the holiday week, but at the same time, you try your best to stay in a routine," Malzahn said Sunday heading to Saturday's Top 5 showdown with Alabama.
Overall, Malzahn said, "We're going to do exactly what we've done."
But Auburn's players know the importance of this Iron Bowl, a game with implications for the Southeastern Conference Championship Game as well as the BCS.
"We're going to try not to have that outside pressure...but at the same time, we know there's a lot at stake in this game," said receiver C.J. Uzomah.
Malzahn is playing straight down the middle this week and not playing a game of what-if.
"I'm really not letting my mind go there," he said. "We've been so focused on trying to improve and just worried about the next week and just worried about the next opponent. Like I told the guys a few weeks back, we'll worry about all that patting ourselves on the back stuff after the season...be able to look back and appreciate some things. When you're in the middle of it, you've got to stay grounded, you've got to stay focused and you've got to take care of the next job that's been ahead of you."
Auburn has surprised along the way.
"So far our team has risen to the occasion. They'll need to do it again," he said.
Malzahn and Uzomah, running back Corey Grant and defensive lineman Nosa Eguae complimented No. 1 Alabama during their Sunday meeting with the media.
Uzomah says Malzahn's message on Iron Bowl: "Take a deep breath. Relax. Play our game."
Uzomah on Gus Malzahn's social media rules this week: "If you have to think about it, don't post it."
Uzomah on quarterback Nick Marshall's play: "It's been huge in where we are as a team."
Eguae on if he'll prepare any differently for a big game: "We're creatures of habits. We get into a routine. I'm sticking to my routine, to the things that got us here."
Eguae on Alabama's quarterback: "AJ McCarron, he does everything you want in a quarterback."
Eguae on his defense: "We don't think we've played our best game."
Eguae on GameDay, CBS and the attention coming to Iron Bowl: "We don't get caught up in all of that."
Grant, the Auburn running back (and former Alabama player) on the Iron Bowl: "Going to treat it like any other game."
Grant on returning home to play for Auburn after being at Alabama: "Everybody welcomed me back. It was like I had been here the whole time."
Grant on why Auburn has moved past dramatic TD pass that beat Georgia: "That play is not going to help us" to beat Alabama.
Grant on running tough: "Just because I'm a speed sweep guy doesn't mean I can't deliver a hit."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine