November 5, 2013

Nothing assumed

AUBURN | Tennessee and its damaged run defense, which ranks last in the Southeastern Conference, seems like a dream matchup for the run-heavy Tigers.

Still, players don't see it that way.

"At the end of the day, paper is just paper," center Reese Dismukes said when asked about Auburn's advantage. "Teams can go out there and beat you any time. You have to be on your toes."

And now we know: Gus Malzahn has gotten through to this team.

The head coach has been saying for months that nothing this team accomplishes this season means anything until the final games ends. Not the final drive against Mississippi State. Not the win at Texas A&M. Not the slobber-knocking performance in Fayetteville.

It's all meaningless right now, Malzahn has told his team.

They believe it.

That doesn't mean Auburn lacks confidence. Tailback Tre Mason, the Southeastern Conference's reigning Player of The Week, has been the figurehead of the league's most powerful ground attack. The ability to abuse opponents serially in the 'A' and 'B' gaps this season has given the team a strong belief that anything is possible on that side of the ball.

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