When Butch Thompson first arrived on the Plains in 2016, he picked up a book by Bill Walsh called “The Score Takes Care of Itself.” It’s been on the mind of the sixth-year head coach lately, whose team is 1-11 to start conference play this season.
“I’ve been recalling on [the book] because through the first two or three weekends of SEC play, I’m like ‘Alright that's hogwash,” Thompson said. “But when you get out of frames and you get out the moment, it’s so true.”
While the season has not panned out the way Thompson may have envisioned it thus far, the score certainly took care of itself on Tuesday with a win over Georgia Tech. The victory, which was highlighted by Steven Williams’ offensive encore in Atlanta, is something Auburn will look to build momentum on.
“Hopeful to carry a little momentum of our own from last night in Atlanta,” Thompson said. “We’d really love to have a good weekend in the SEC. We’re excited to go to Tuscaloosa.”
In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Tigers will face off against in-state rival Alabama for the first time in nearly two years. The Crimson Tide are riding a four-game win streak, sweeping Texas A&M this past weekend and blowing out Samford earlier this week.
It’s set a collision course for two teams who are trying to climb their way back into the top half of the SEC.
Auburn will repeat its rotation from the Mississippi State series, starting Cody Greenhill on Thursday, Jack Owen on Friday and Joseph Gonzalez on Saturday. The Tigers are entering a stretch of nine games over the next two weeks.
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“Hopefully we can start playing with some momentum a little bit better and the outcome be in our favor a little more often,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he’s starting to see some guys, like Williams and Bryson Ware, making adjustments.
“I think Steven has been working really hard,” Thompson said. “Seeing that bat show up in that connection with him catching was huge for him last night, and for us, at the end of the day. You continue to see Bryson Ware a little more spread out. I think he’s evaluating pitches a little better.”
Ware has homered in back-to-back games and in three of the last four while riding a four-game hit streak.
With the season winding down, Auburn’s time to turn the season around is running out.
“These games are big,” Thompson said. “Every time you wake up, you have something to play for. Now is the time. It’s not waiting another week or two. We understand that. Our players understand that we have to play better, our backs are against the wall. We do know that the time is now.”
After facing three top-five teams in its first four SEC series, Auburn doesn’t have a single ranked team left on its schedule as of now. Thompson is hopeful that his team can take advantage of facing the tougher teams early on.
“They’re not going to see anything that they haven’t already seen,” Thompson said about his team. “We have to find a way to use that, to equate to us having success."
The series against Alabama will start on Thursday night, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. CST. It will be broadcast nationally on SEC Network.
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