Auburn defensive back T.J. Davis glided across the second floor of the New Orleans Marriott twirling an umbrella to the tune of the music.
It was all part of the festivities welcoming the team to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl Tuesday night.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn politely waved as he escorted his team to their meal while some of his players had a little more fun with their New Orleans-themed reception.
Davis, Maurice Swain and Tray Matthews were all smiles as they showcased a few dance moves to the gathered crowd.
Players arrived throughout the day at the team’s hotel downtown on Canal Street. Sugar Bowl organizers rolled out the red carpet — a five-piece brass band ensemble and dancer — when Auburn gathered for a team dinner.
Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams didn’t dance, but he shared his teammates enthusiasm for the trip during a brief session with reporters.
“It has always been a great bowl to be in and for us to be able to accomplish this much in my last year is just a blessing,” Adams said. “Really I’m just trying to spend these last couple of days with my team and the guys that I’ve been able to be a part of and the coaches and trainers, everybody top to bottom. Really just want to show them how much I thank them and how much they’ve helped me in the process.”
Malzahn said “everybody” made the trip to the Sugar Bowl and qualified academically for the game.
“I think that’s the third year in a row or fourth year in a row, something like that,” Malzahn said.
Auburn arrives to New Orleans as a three-point underdog, but offensive lineman Alex Kozan made it clear the Tigers view next week’s game as battles of “equals.”
“If neither one of us weren’t a good team, we wouldn’t be here,” Kozan said.
Auburn has four practices scheduled this week at Tulane University while Oklahoma will practice at the Superdome. The Sooners arrived Tuesday morning in New Orleans at Louis Armstrong International Airport.
“Obviously we want to play for the National Championship, but the same time it’s still a big-time bowl game against a really good team,” Oklahoma linebacker Jordan Evans said. “It’s another game for our team. There is a trophy behind it and we want it.