AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Carnell Williams figures this LSU defense is
no match for the swarming, relentless group that smothered him last
The question is can No. 14 Auburn's new West Coast offense match
No. 5 LSU's still tough defense on Saturday?
"Last year they had no flaws," said Williams, the Tigers'
tailback. "They were physical, they had great speed, and they had
great cover corners. It was just like they were everywhere. But
this year it is not the same.
"I feel like we are a better team from last year, and we are on
a roll and have got a pretty good atmosphere going on around here.
Things will be a whole lot different this year."
The game's status was up in the air until Friday morning because
of Hurricane Ivan, but Auburn's campus didn't have power outages or
significant damage from the storm that hit the state Thursday.
If Williams' assessment of Auburn is on the mark, a repeat of
last year's 31-7 humbling is unlikely for the team (2-0, 1-0
Southeastern Conference). LSU (2-0, 0-0) didn't allow Williams any
room to run in last year's 31-7 win, limiting him to 61 yards on 20
It's true LSU lost some of its defensive stars and Auburn's
offense has shown potential against weaker competition.
Williams and fellow tailback Ronnie Brown looked terrific
against Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State, and the offense was
potent and efficient. But how about against one of the league's top
"This is our No. 1 test," Auburn receiver Courtney Taylor
said. "They're the defending champions. They're going to be hard
to block, harder to do different kind of stuff on like we did
against Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi State.
"If we go out there and execute the offense, I honestly don't
believe we can be stopped."
LSU coach Nick Saban praised not only Auburn's new offense, but
its offensive line play -- a weakpoint in last year's meeting.
Quarterback Jason Campbell has thrown five touchdown passes and
been intercepted only once.
"Their offensive line has done a great job of controlling the
line of scrimmage in each of their two games so far this year,"
Saban said. "I think the passing game that they've implemented is
something that suits the quarterback, and he seems to feel a little
more comfortable in what he's doing."
Saban indicated he will continue to platoon quarterbacks Marcus
Randall and JaMarcus Russell, who were both proficient against
overmatched Arkansas State.
"My view of the quarterback situation now is that both
quarterbacks can be weapons for our team," Saban said. "I think
the best advantage for our team is to use both quarterbacks in that
"Both guys have the ability to do certain things, and we're
going to try to plan it so both guys have an opportunity to do
Auburn cornerback Junior Rosegreen thinks both quarterbacks
present different challenges to the defense, which ranks second in
the league against the pass.
"Both of them are tough," Rosegreen said. "JaMarcus Russell
stands real tall in the pocket, and he looks you off and likes to
throw deep. Marcus Randall throws the short routes and tries to
make things happen with his feet. Both of them are hard to prepare
And both are familiar to Auburn's coaches. The Tigers recruited
Russell, a redshirt freshman from Mobile. Randall threw four
interceptions against Auburn two years ago in only his second
LSU tailback Justin Vincent isn't taking it for granted that this
game will be won by running.
"You never know. They might stop the run," he said. "It might
be won through the air. Anything's possible, especially in the
LSU is trying to reverse a mini-trend in the rivalry. Saban is
0-2 against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and the last four
meetings have been lopsided wins by the home team. Marcus Spears,
for one, chalks that up to coincidence.
"I don't think you can put a stamp on the fact that (the home
team is) winning by a big margin," the LSU defensive end said.
"One team plays well and the other team plays not so well."
Auburn, meanwhile, is trying to prove itself a serious contender
for the SEC title after faltering badly in that pursuit last
"I think it's an opportunity for the Auburn football team to
show the world that we are a good team," Williams said. "What
better way to do it than to play the No. (5) team in the country
and the defending national champs.
"I can't explain how it's going to be. It's going to be crazy