Even so, Auburn coach Gene Chizik believes they will.
“I think anytime that’s what you put on the field then it hurts, and it should,” Chizik said Tuesday, “and if it doesn’t then there’s a problem with that. Talking to a lot of our players, I think they’re all excited about the opportunity to go out and get another chance to play this Saturday. We’ll have a good week of practice, and they’ll respond well. We’ll move on and try to get better as a football team this week.”
Auburn (6-4) plays Samford (6-4) at noon on Saturday. After being thoroughly dominated by Georgia, the Tigers are ready to make the best of what’s left of the season.
After Samford, Auburn’s annual Iron Bowl showdown with Alabama looms Nov. 26. Both games are at home.
“When you face adversity, not only in football but life, it’s about what you do afterward,” said Auburn defensive end Nosa Eguae. “We didn’t respond to adversity Saturday. Was that our last game of the season? No. We had adversity in that game and we lost it. We lost it big and it was a big-time game that we really wanted to win. Now, it’s about these next two weeks and what we do to bounce back from that loss. We’ll go back out there this week and get ready for the big one next Saturday. This month of November is still ours for the taking.”
Auburn’s ability to bounce back is documented by the fact that the Tigers haven’t lost consecutive games this season.
After losing to Clemson 38-24, Auburn beat Florida Atlantic 30-16 and 10th-ranked South Carolina 16-13.
After losing to Arkansas 38-14, the Tigers beat Florida 17-6.
Auburn followed a 45-10 loss at No. 1-ranked LSU 45-10 by beating Ole Miss 41-23.
“It’s hard to take something from losing,” said Auburn defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker, a sophomore from Warner-Robbins, Ga. “The only thing I can say when you lose like that, is you remember that and you keep moving forward, but you never forget that. You remember 38 by Arkansas, you remember 38 by Clemson, you remember the 45 against LSU, you remember the 45 against Georgia. You remember these things. You move forward but at the same time it’s only going to help us get better in the future.”
Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley says the learning process can be painful.
“We realize that we really let ourselves down and put embarrassing stuff on film, and we know we’re a lot better than that,” he said. “That is one thing that we do know. We’re not giving up. We’re not thinking we’re worse players or anything like that. It’s just a fact of executing. It’s pretty simple.”
One common denominator in the Tigers’ losses this season is they have all been on the road.
Chizik was asked if he sees other commonalities.
“I think one of the common denominators is when something negative has happened, usually a turnover of some sort or a big play verses the defense, we’ve had a hard time coming out of that,” he said. “It’s been kind of a tail spin that’s been hard for us to get out of. It’s happened on both sides of the ball. If you look at both sides of the ball, the common denominator offensively is usually turnovers. The common denominator defensively is usually explosive plays versus the defense, and I think both of those things on the road against a really good team, you have to be able to come out of those tail spins, and we haven’t been able to do that.”
Moseley said the Tigers’ losses to LSU and Georgia are the ones that hurt the most.
“It’s really tough to figure it out because we’re so hurt over that, and to have it happen twice in a year, it’s tough to handle,” he said. “We’re all competitive, and we try so hard, and we spend so much time doing it, to let ourselves and the fans down like that is tough.”
Moseley believes the Tigers have reached a crossroads in terms of leadership.
“We’re at the point where we have to have leaders step up, and obviously it allstarts with me,” he said. “I’m the one who touches it every play, and I’m going to work on that. There are a few other guys who can lead, and be a really good leader. It’s just time for some of us to step up and lead.”