October 2, 2012

'Improvement' must be more than a word

AUBURN -- Improvement is a word coaches adore because it has such a hopeful ring yet has no tangible meaning.

Every team is improving. So is Auburn.

It's tempting to believe the Tigers may be improving at a faster rate than other teams in the Southeastern Conference. What happened in Starkville, players said, embodied the low-water point for a program that wasn't supposed to have fallen that far.

A middling effort against Louisiana-Monroe prefaced a performance against LSU that excited and enticed even the most pessimistic supporters. Brian VanGorder's defense, which had been pushed around at times in games against Clemson and Mississippi State, vigorously pushed back against the nation's No. 2 team.

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