By Justin Graves
The Cullman Times
Gene Chizik took a deep breath and said the one word he’s been repeating all season.
It’s the adjective the Auburn football coach believes best describes his team.
And through seven games, it’s hard to disagree.
That resiliency has shown in Auburn’s composure in close game. And these Tigers have played a bunch of them.
Every game except two, in fact.
And every week, Auburn survives — finding a new way to win each time.
Saturday night, it was the Tigers’ defense that went from liability to hero in the fourth quarter, forcing three late turnovers that led to 21 unanswered points in a 65-43 win over No. 12 Arkansas.
Chizik summed it up to resiliency. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairly called it heart.
But whatever this trait is, it’s special. And Auburn appears to be becoming a stronger team because of it.
It shows in the team’s chemistry — especially late in games.
The composure and confidence this team continues to show in close games has been noticable. This team believes it will win every game, regardless of the situation it’s up against — despite the adversity it’s faced almost every week.
In other words, this Auburn team has learned how to win. That wasn’t the case a year ago.
Last season, Auburn crumbled when it faced adversity. Close games usually meant second-half letdowns, which typically ended in heartbreaking defeat.
But those days appear to be long gone. Auburn football has regained its swagger, reclaiming its spot near the top of the Southeastern Conference hierarchy in the process.
And it doesn’t look like Auburn is going to tumble back to the bottom anytime soon.
Nope. It’s not happening.
Because these Tigers are resilient. These Tigers are fearless.
These Tigers have heart.
And they’re quickly becoming a national football power again because of it.
‰ Justin Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 257 or by e-mail at email@example.com.