AUBURN – The Auburn Tigers are riding a four-game winning streak and have clinched bowl eligibility. This weekend, they will have an opportunity to work on some things that need attention against the New Mexico State Aggies this weekend.
Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze reflected on Auburn's blowout win over Arkansas and previewed the matchup against the Aggies coming up.
“There were a lot of good things from Saturday that we're happy with," Freeze said. "Obviously, there's always something to improve, but to go on the road and win in dominating fashion, I think the most glaring thing that we were most pleased with is I thought that we dominated the trenches on both sides, offensive line and defensive line. Usually, that's a good sign in a game. I loved the energy that our kids and staff brought and the way they jumped out."
"They've (New Mexico State) continued to improve as the year has gone on, and they're a very talented team and play extremely hard So, we're going to need Jordan-Hare to be at its best, and we need to keep the momentum going. We'll be faced with some of the normal challenges of wanting to rest on last week, and all those things that come as temptations, and we'll have to fight against that. So the leadership with the team, I'm going to ask them to help me with that," he added.
Auburn's wide receivers have struggled this season but showed improvement against Arkansas. Freeze talked about what he saw from the group.
"Yeah, I think (Ja’Varrius Johnson) has constantly improved ever since he came back from injury. He's somebody that we have to figure into the passing game, for sure," Freeze said. "He and Jay (Fair). I've said it since I got here that I thought those were two of the more talented guys that we've had. We've improved some other places, but we still have a ways to go. We still are inconsistent in that realm some, but we definitely have improved, and (Ja’Varrius) is certainly a part of that.”
Auburn's offense has begun to find its footing as a unit. Freeze elaborated on how beneficial that is for the team.
“It’s really good to see our kids play with confidence," Freeze said. "I don’t think that you can be very good at anything unless you have some confidence with what you’re doing. They seem to be a confident group right now that is excited about another opportunity. I don’t mean for this to sound anyway, but we could have put up a lot of numbers (at Arkansas)."
He continued, "They were good, but we really started milking the clock about halfway through the third quarter and did not throw it. I really wish that I could have gotten Holden (Geriner) some throws in there, but you want to handle things the right way when you do get those opportunities because I’ve been on the other side of that, too. I do think our kids are starting to believe in something and believe we can score some points. They are playing with some confidence.”
After dealing with injuries all season, Freeze said that Auburn is in a good spot healthwise.
“I think we’re OK," Freeze said. "I mean anytime you play a game there’s some things that pop up, but nothing has ruled anybody out at this point, so I feel pretty fortunate.”
New Mexico State brings a good quarterback with them in Diego Pavia. Freeze talked about what it would take to keep him in check.
“He’s a very talented quarterback," Freeze said. "Extremely, extremely tough, and mobile. He’s a handful, for sure. They are using him in a lot of ways with a lot of motions, shifts and formations. They have a really good plan, and he can make a lot of things happen with his feet.”
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. CT, and the broadcast will be carried on SEC Network.
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