October 19, 2013

Back to good


We all watch a lot of football, a lot of Auburn football, and most games begin to fade from memory not long after they end.

Even big games fade. It's inevitable.

Yet this one won't.

Auburn won its first road conference game in more than two seasons Saturday at Texas A&M. Auburn was a double-digit underdog facing the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in the stadium where so many of his greatest moments have unfolded. Time and again, Auburn found itself pushed to the brink of relegation and despair.

These Tigers didn't flinch.

Each obstacle was overcome. Though Johnny Manziel made miracles happen as he so often does, the visiting offense was willing and able to match every sleight-of-hand move with a bullish display of raw power. Brute force eventually brought the magician to his knees, his throwing shoulder throbbing, and forced him to wonder how a team he curbstomped one year earlier just marginalized him on broadcast television.

There is no secret to how this happened.

Coach Gus Malzahn has spent the past 10 months working to eradicate the negativity that enveloped the program last season. The coaching staff challenged players at every turn, demanded a more aggressive approach to everything they do, to become stronger than they ever imagined.

Those changes are most evident in two areas: The rushing attack and tackling.

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