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Our Time: One win away


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Deshaun Davis: "It's our time to get back on top, our time to take over the SEC and be that No. 1 team that we knew we could be." Photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics
Dec. 1, 2017

By Greg Ostendorf

AUBURN, Ala. -- In one of the meeting rooms prior to the Iron Bowl, Gus Malzahn asked his team, "What time is it?" In unison, the players responded, "Our time."

It's been the mantra for this Auburn team since the summer when the seniors came up with it. Every player has a wristband with the words "our time" on it. You can hear the phrase before games or after practice when the players break the huddle. It comes up often when players are speaking to the media during interviews.

So where did it come from? What does it mean?

"It's just our time," Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis said. "It's our time to get back on top, our time to take over the SEC and be that No. 1 team that we knew we could be. These past few years, we've always had a good team, but we never could get over that hump. We always found a hump in the middle of the season and couldn't climb over it.

"We just took on the motto this summer and this spring because we actually felt like as a team that it was our time to do what's supposed to be done."

"I remember when [Malzahn] told us that, it wasn't like a cocky thing," running back Kerryon Johnson said. "It's just we were tired of being second or third or fourth in the SEC and the SEC West. It's our time to finally get back to where Auburn should be."

The Tigers can return to their spot at head of the table with a win in Saturday's SEC championship game.


Seven weeks ago, Auburn's chance of returning to the top and winning the SEC looked bleak. The Tigers had just blown a 20-point lead on the road at LSU, and given that it was their second loss of the season, there was no way this team could bounce back and compete in the division, let alone reach the College Football Playoff.

Or at least that's what everybody outside the Auburn program thought.

Not Malzahn, though. In the locker room immediately after the game, the Auburn coach remained positive. He told his players that if they won the next five games, they could still win the SEC West and make it to Atlanta. The next day, during a team meeting, he pulled up a slide with the SEC standings on it and showed his players that everything was still in front of them.

It wasn't all that different from the 2013 season when the Tigers won nine straight games following a loss at LSU and made it all the way to the BCS national championship.

"He let us know that it wasn't the end of the road for us," Davis said. "We know that even if we have two losses, if you win the SEC championship, 9.5 times out of 10 you're going to compete in the top four. That's what we're looking at now."

"Obviously, nobody likes to lose," Johnson said. "But when we really sat down and thought about it, it was kind of like everything is still out there in front of us. We figured Alabama would win out. All we had to do was win out. So we just had to take our games one game at a time, win out and we would play them for the SEC West. That's what ended up happening."

After that LSU game, a new countdown began -- win the next five games in a row. And Malzahn preached to his players that to win five in a row, you have to win the first one. And then the second one, and the third one, and so on, so forth.

The players bought in. First, it was a win at Arkansas. Then after a bye week, it was another win on the road at Texas A&M. Still, there was doubt outside the program. Despite being the top-ranked two-loss team in the playoff rankings, very few gave Auburn any chance of running the table and making a run at the top four.

But then the Tigers turned some heads when they beat No. 1 Georgia at home to make it three in a row. And after a fourth-straight win over Louisiana Monroe, what was once considered a longshot became a reality when they beat No. 1 Alabama in the Iron Bowl this past weekend.

It was the first time Auburn had beat Georgia or Alabama since the 2013 season.

"If we didn't lose to LSU, I don't know that any of this would've happened," Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidhamsaid. "Not saying we couldn't have done it or anything, it's just the mentality kind of changed after LSU. Our backs were against the wall, and we knew we had to win five straight if we wanted to do what we wanted to do."


After Auburn's win over No. 1 Alabama, the Tigers climbed all the way to No. 2 in the latest playoff rankings. They had accomplished what they set out to do, winning five games in a row, and the same pundits who left them for dead after the LSU game were talking about them as one of, if not the best team in the country.

However, the mentality in the locker room remained the same. In fact, as Auburn prepared for its rematch with Georgia this week, a new countdown began.

"Now it's three in a row," Johnson said. "That's how you keep the chip. You just set a new goal, and you try to accomplish that goal. So now it's three in a row. We still have to take it one game at a time. The easiest way to win three in a row is to win the first one. If you win the first one, the easiest way to win three in a row is to win the first two. If you win the first two, then it's three and then you're there. Before you know it, you've passed that goal, too."

"Three's the number right now, but one's the big number," added Stidham. "To win three, you've got to win the first one. It's the exact same mindset."

So the Tigers will play Saturday's game with the same urgency they have played with in the last five games. If they win, it's on to the playoff where three in a row becomes two. If they win those two, they can accomplish something that hasn't been done at Auburn since 2010.

What time is it? It's Auburn's time.

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Its very rare when you think a team just has IT regardless of what they face. But even after losing their best player period...you still feel like this team has IT. This team would've decimated the ENTIRE SEC if Gus trusted his self (a situation that ended up helping us but besides the point). Alabama has the distinction of running a train over the league over the past 3 years, but I don't think any of those years ever relinquished a season as dominant as AU had. I've been using some reverse psychology this week to get past my boy KJ's injury, but I don't think this team needs gimmicks. They just get out there and beat people down. I just cant see em losing tomorrow, its not Georgia's moment 

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I believe this and what's more important you can just see that this team believes it.  I honestly believe this is the best team in the country right now.  I can see them team taking it to UGA again and then rolling through the playoffs, beating Okie in the Rose Bowl and finishing it off with a beat down of the Dabo's.  

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3 hours ago, jimmyg35 said:

I'd love to see a hype video to this song...


It kind of embodies what Auburn has been through this year.


OH, THAT IS PERFECT!  Everyone, listen!!!


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Who needs a pregame speech when you can just play that song....then calmly ask them if they are ready to be heroes.

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I hope they come out, hit uga square in the mouth and ask, "what are you going to do about it, mutt-face, sit there and bleed"? Then pull their leash and take them to the pound.

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