By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn has already crashed the very-select New Year's Six Bowl party with the second-most wins among SEC teams and a No. 14 national ranking.
So why not, linebacker Tre' Williams figures, take the next step and knock off Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl?
"We had a lot of doubters at the beginning of the season. We were basically supposed to finish last in the SEC and not be ranked and everything like that. We proved a lot of people wrong, and this is our opportunity to just finish it off right, and it will also lead us into the next year," says the Auburn linebacker.
Auburn, 8-4, plays No. 7 Oklahoma, 10-2 and on a nine-game winning streak, on Jan. 2 after landing a spot in one of the coveted top six bowl games. Auburn won a spot in the Sugar Bowl by being the highest ranked team outside of the four-team playoffs.
The Tigers began bowl work concentrating on younger players, then shifted to working on Oklahoma before taking off for Christmas.
The Tigers are to report back Tuesday in New Orleans before resuming workouts Wednesday.
Williams said he liked Auburn's early approach to practice.
"It's just showing us what we're going to have for the future… We've got to see how we're going to be next year," he said.
Twenty-one players went through Senior Day activities on Nov. 19, yet freshmen and sophomores account for 84 percent of Auburn's offense. Eight of Auburn's Top 10 tackles are juniors, sophomores or freshmen.
Auburn's offensive injuries grabbed most of the headlines down the stretch, but Williams says the defense was slowed, too. A month later, everybody seems to be ready to play.
"It looks great, it feels great," Williams said. "You can see the defense out there playing fast. We have everyone really back healthy. We're going to continue to work on that, and everybody is just going to be ready for the game.
"If we show it out there on the practice field, we know we’ll be capable of doing it in a game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine