Auburn hasn’t turned the page on 2015 just yet.
The list of distractions during bowl season isn’t a short one with graduated seniors contemplating their future, players evaluating their NFL potential and lofty preseason goals making way for a low stakes appearance in the Birmingham Bowl.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn acknowledged the outcome of Wednesday’s game against Memphis at Legion Field might have little to do a perfect game plan.
“From a coaching standpoint, these bowl games are really determined on how much your team really wants to play and really wants to win,” Malzahn said. “I’ve been very encouraged with our guys since they have been back. They are very focused.”
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Before travelling to Birmingham Saturday night, the team had a full-padded practice that the coach described as physical and spirited.
After four days off for the holidays, Malzahn wanted to see if his players would come back to the practice field ready to get back to work.
They didn’t disappoint.
“It’s been real physical these past two days, the guys we talked about it the way to beat this team is to win up front,” Auburn defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert said. “We have just been banging each other each and every day we have a chance.”
According to Lambert, the team had a similar approach in practice throughout December.
The Georgia Military College transfer said everyone from the seniors on down view the matchup against Memphis as an important one.
“We are taking it very serious,” Lambert said.