Auburn focused on Western Carolina not Texas A&M
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn defensive tackle Gabe Wright insists the Tigers remember last year too clearly to start thinking about the next big Southeastern Conference game a week early.
That will be hard with struggling Football Conference Subdivision team Western Carolina visiting Saturday ahead of the Tigers' trip to No. 9 Texas A&M.
"Coming off a 3-9 season, there's not much you can do but work on yourself so worrying about the opponent, that's one of the least things we've been worrying about all year," Wright said. "We're going to treat this next opponent as a chance to build ourselves."
Auburn (4-1) has plenty to work on, from an inconsistent passing game to a vulnerable passing defense. The big question is how much the Tigers will want to rest quarterback Nick Marshall's gimpy knee, injured in a win over Mississippi.
Coach Gus Malzahn said Wednesday any decision on Marshall's status would come late in the week. The coach didn't indicate whether the replacement would be Jonathan Wallace or freshman Jeremy Johnson, who hasn't played yet. Wallace started the final four games last season, and at least one of the two would likely get significant playing time even if Marshall does start.
This could be a week to iron out some kinks in the passing game instead of relying on Marshall's running ability if he does play.
Western Carolina (1-5) hasn't beaten an FCS or FBS team since defeating The Citadel in 2010, a span of 31 games, three years and 10 days as of Saturday.
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Auburn isn't to the point where it can spend a big portion of the week prepping for the Aggies.
"I think there's a lot of different philosophies," Lahslee said. "Some people want to spend the week and just work on the next opponent and some people don't. We're more of the mind-set that we want to keep things consistent for our guys."