Rogers says Saturday’s showdown with the 8-1 Bulldogs is the biggest game of the year to him with his Georgia background and what is riding on the outcome for the 9-0 Tigers, who must win to stay in the hunt for an opportunity to play in the Orange Bowl for the BCS national championship.
“I am going to be fired up for this game,” says Rogers, who notes that he has friends on the Georgia team, particularly Bulldog wide receiver Fred Gibson, who he hangs out with in Atlanta during the summer. “They have beat us twice since I got here and we have just beaten them once,” Rogers says. “I have got to even up the series.”
Carlos Rogers sees most of his action practice with teams not testing him much on Saturdays.
Rogers says the friendship with Gibson was born out of their on the field competition. “Our personalities are similar,” Rogers says. “We have fun and joke around a lot together. We met up in Atlanta and have stayed friends since then.”
With a national TV audience on CBS for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff as well as ESPN’s Gameday crew setting up shop on the Auburn campus, this is one of the biggest games ever played at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Rogers says dealing with Georgia’s offense will be a major challenge for the Auburn defense.
“They have a great quarterback and a great play-action game,” Rogers says. “They have receivers who are pretty good. I know they are going to challenge me a lot.”
Rogers expects to be challenged by Gibson plus fellow receiver Reggie Brown and Georgia quarterback David Greene. He expects the other cornerback to be even busier as the Bulldogs test sophomore Montae Pitts or whoever starts there. Gene Chizik, the defensive coordinator and secondary coach, says backups Zach Gilbert and Patrick Lee are still in the competition to win that starting job, which he says may be a game-time decision.
Rogers has told Pitts to keep his head up and to continue to compete despite struggling in the last game at Ole Miss and having his status as a starter put under review. “I told him, ‘Focus on what we have got to do this week. Focus on you trying to get yourself better in practice and it will take care of itself. Even if you don’t start, you are going to get in the game. Don’t let that get you down.’
“You are going to be done sometimes, but you can’t get down. Being a defensive back, it is just like giving up a big play. You have got to come right back the next play and make something happen.”
Rogers says he can’t wait for Saturday. “This is the game I have been looking forward to just to play Georgia,” he says. “Then to have two Top 10 teams playing, that is real exciting.”