Bo Nix has never seen anything quite like what he’s going to see this Saturday.
He’s never heard anything quite like it either.
Auburn’s preparing for its first true road game this Saturday at Texas A&M — and there might be a lonely feeling running through the Tigers’ freshman quarterback when he trots out on the field surrounded by tens of thousands of screaming Aggies fans at famed Kyle Field, outnumbered for the first time in his young career.
But he’s preparing himself for it.
And Auburn’s ready to kick-start its ride through SEC play.
Auburn plays Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in College Station, Texas. Auburn’s played away from home once this season, out in Texas in the team’s neutral-site season opener against Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Saturday marks Auburn’s first game at an opposing team’s home field.
It’s enemy territory — for the first time in Nix’s career.
Nix is the first one to say that it’s going to be a challenge, and something unlike anything he’s ever experienced.
For now he’s doing the only things he can do before getting out there and feeling it for himself, and that’s preparing in practice and mentally for that coming challenge.
“Well, it’s going to be tough, and I know that coming in at the start of the week,” Nix said Sunday, after the team’s light practice and review of the Kent State game. “So, I’m going to have to do my very best to prepare and do my job so I can help the team as much as I can come Saturday, and it’s not a big shock to me and I’m not a little behind.
“So I have to focus on my job, so I can start fast like the rest of our guys.”
Auburn beat Kent State 55-16 on Saturday to get to 3-0. Texas A&M is 2-1 after wins over Texas State and Lamar, with a loss to top-ranked Clemson coming between them.
Texas A&M’s Kyle Field seats more than 100,000.
To practice communicating in the midst of all that noise, Auburn’s offense will run drills in practice with piped-in noise as is usual in preparation for road games. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn says the Tigers have already gotten started with that.
“Really what we’ve done every week, even when we’ve played at home, is crowd noise, getting used to the different road games we’re going to have and everything that goes with that,” Malzahn said Sunday. “So, really hope that will help as far as that goes.”
Until the Tigers are in the middle of it with Nix behind center, hope may be as much as they can do — though Auburn has experienced players in five seniors along the offensive line and returners at all the skill positions who have all been through plenty of away games like this in their careers and can help Nix.
It’s still all-new for the quarterback, and plenty different from Clay-Chalkville and Oxford — the two toughest environments he said he played in back at Pinson Valley High School. He was just answering a question honestly then, in postgame after the Kent State game on Saturday. Back at Scottsboro High School before he transferred, he had to play some teams with some really good bands, he said with a slight smile, who made a lot of noise.
Of course, this is an entirely new level.
“Texas A&M is going to be the loudest I’ve ever been able to witness,” he said. “So we’ll prepare for that in practice. We’ve just got to communicate and just focus in on my job.”
Yes, it is going to be difficult, Nix says, taking nothing away from the atmosphere he’s excited to see at Kyle Field.
But, fortunately for him, he won’t be going there alone.
“I know it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to have the pieces to the puzzle,” Nix said. “On Saturday, we’re going to have a good plan for him. Coach Malzahn does a good job of planning. We’re going to be prepared.
“I’ve just got to focus on my job and not let the game get bigger than what it is.”