The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


January 1, 2014

No. 2 Auburn arrives in California all business


"We definitely want to enjoy the moment," Ford said. "It's a blessing my last time here being able to enjoy this with my teammates. I definitely want to soak in the moment and also be focused when it's time to be."

Malzahn said he can draw on experience as Auburn's offensive coordinator during the 2010 national championship season to deal with issues like the month-long gap between games. That team included a few players who are still around, including Ford.

"Any time you play in the national championship game, there's a lot that goes with it," Malzahn said. "First of all, there's a long layoff, so strategically you've got to plan your practices and everything that goes with that. Then once you get here, it's not a normal bowl week. There's a lot of extra stuff that goes with it.

"So that past experience has got to help us. "

A more recent experience was last season's misery, which led to Gene Chizik's firing and Malzahn's re-hiring, this time as head man. These Tigers have already won nine more games than that 3-9 team whose season was long done by now.

Ford said the Tigers are adopting their coach's philosophy taking it one thing at a time instead of getting swept up in that storyline.

"When you put in work, you expect results," he said. "But you don't really process that into your mind. You're staying focused on the task at hand. You don't look at big-picture stuff, winning the national championship. You're focused on the task at hand."

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