AUBURN, Ala. — Sometimes, it can be difficult for a team to put a close loss behind it. Gus Malzahn doesn't put any stock in that line of thinking, however. Despite Auburn's 41-38 loss to Texas A&M last week, Malzahn said it will be easy for his team to forget about the narrow defeat.
Well, two reasons.
"You've got a big game coming up, and you've got to put it behind you," Auburn's coach said Tuesday. "Secondly, we have a lot of veteran guys, a lot of seniors that have been through a lot of good and a lot of bad. Because (of) that leadership, that makes it easier to put that thing behind you. We're playing a huge game this week against a very talented team. That'll be our challenge. But I feel certain that our team will handle that the right way."
One senior leader said the Tigers will do just that.
"We've been through a lot of ups and downs, and we understand, we slipped up, made uncharacteristic mistakes in that game," receiver Quan Bray said. "We're just regrouping and (getting) back to work.""
Fellow senior Jonathon Mincy felt the same way.
"Really, you want to get (last week's loss) out of you so you can start focusing on the next game," he said. "The more time we spend on the last game, we could be missing out on more opportunities on getting a head start with preparations for Georgia. (We're) just excited o have another chance to go out there and play."
Not that players are the only ones who suffered through Saturday's loss. The coaching staff did, too. Malzahn admitted he takes "losses very hard."
But he knows there's nothing he can do about it now.
"Saturday night, it wasn't a great feeling, but as a coach you've got to put it behind you and you've got to move on. And our staff has done that," Malzahn said. "We need to do everything we can to get our guys prepared for this week. That's been our approach."
One way to be better equipped for this week's matchup versus Georgia is to practice better, Malzahn said. That's doubly important, he continued, in regards to the defense.
"That's been the thing that we've got to fix," Malzahn said. "Once we get into the game, especially the second half, our guys are playing better and they're settling down and all that. We've got to get off to a better start defensively earlier in the game."
If the Tigers' defenders can do that, Mincy believes they can keep all of their team goals within reach.
"It's just going to bring us closer together," he said of last week's loss. "We've still got a chance."