It had a little different feel.
"It's a little better because the game is nearby and you're here, so you know it's getting closer and closer as every day goes by," linebacker Josh Bynes said. "In Auburn, you're like, 'Aw, the game is so far away.' But since we're here now, everybody's like, OK, it's six days away. Then five, four, three, two ... and finally it's going to be here."
Auburn's players and coaches said the workout was crisp, with good pace and good focus.
"For our first day out here, with everything being new, I was pleased," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. "Very sharp. It was the first day of a game-week situation. I thought it was sharp."
With the national title on the line, it has a different feel from a regular bowl practice. For starters, 20 to 30 TV cameras eagerly awaited a select group of players for interviews afterward.
"I think it’s great," left guard Mike Berry said. "It’s just one of those things that shows you how big the game is. That you’ve got this many reporters out shows you many people care about the game."
Players said staying focused was easier because they know what’s at stake.
"You're working for the one thing that matters the most to all 120 teams in the nation in Division I football -- to win the national championship," Bynes said. "There's only two teams that have a chance to do that -- us and Oregon."
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Here are a few more notes:
- There don't appear to be any eligibility concerns, showing just how rampant some of the speculation can be. Wide receiver Terrell Zachery's name incorrectly popped up a number of times. “I’ve been eligible the whole time,” Zachery told AuburnUndercover.com. “I have my degree. I’m happy to be out here with my team.”
- It's the first trip to Arizona for quite a few players on Auburn's team. "It was definitely eye-opening," right guard Byron Isom said. "I've never seen a cactus, a live cactus, before in my life. The scenery around here is beautiful. It's almost breathtaking."
- I concur with that. The scenery out here is amazing. Everything's brown, with mountains as a backdrop everywhere (with some neatly positioned houses on the sides of them). Not a lot of grass. Whole lot of cacti. And thankfully I haven't seen a rattlesnake yet.
- It's been a minute since Auburn last played. How's the conditioning? " I think we’re in tip-top shape," defensive tackle Nick Fairley said.
- I never thought Auburn's media availability would be the envy of other writers, but Oregon writers haven't had any availability the last two days, getting canned quotes from the sports information department. Press conferences start tomorrow, so the Ducks will have to talk then.
- Fairley didn't mind all the reporters. "Oh, of course not," he said. "Because it's something we have to do."
- Players get a little bit of time to themselves at night ... at least during the early part of the week. "We had a little time off last night," Isom said. "I think we'll get a little time today. But closer and closer it gets to the game, they're really going to cut that down. So we're just going to enjoy it while we can."