Auburn, Ala.--With a game under their belts and the return of sophomore center Reese Dismukes, Auburn's offensive line has a chance to take major strides forward in week two, according to sophomore Chad Slade.
Starting at right guard for the Tigers against Clemson, Slade was part of an offense that did some good things in the running game before stalling three times in the red zone. Now getting ready to face SEC foe Mississippi State, Slade said the goal is improvement this week in practice.
"We played good, but I think we have a lot of room for improvement," Slade said. "We have to come out this week with the mentality that we have to get the job done now since we have Greg and Avery (offensive tackles Greg Robinson and Avery Young) and they have a few games under their belt now. We've got to come out with the mentality this week that we're going get the job done with improvement and stuff, and I believe that we're going to get that done.
While Auburn's offense had some negative plays and didn't finish drives, there were positives to build on for the Tigers heading into week two. Between the running game of Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb and the developing talent of Kiehl Frazier at quarterback, Slade said the game was a confidence builder for the group, even in a loss.
"I feel bad for the game knowing that we lost and all that, but having seen the stuff that we could do, we could have had so many plays that we could have scored touchdowns if we had just blocked the right way or something like that," Slade said. "But I believe that it gave us so much confidence that we know that we can do these things if we can just put things together. I believe that this week we're going to maintain all that and then on Saturday we're going to fix all those problems. I believe that we're going to put all those together and hopefully have a good game."
Facing a Mississippi State team that is going to be out for blood this season after two close losses to the Tigers the last two seasons, Slade said his team has no doubt it's going to be in for a battle but is determined to come out on top.
"I know they have the mentality that they're going to have to do that," Slade said. "They've been losing to us the past three years, and I'm sure that they're going to be tired of losing to us. It's always come down to the wire. It's always come down to that last-minute touchdown or that last-minute stop. We're going to see whose team is going to be more physical. That's all the SEC, but I believe we're going to be the more physical teams out there."