What’s it like to travel with Auburn football? Senior writer Jeff Shearer is giving fans a look behind the curtain this season as he tags along with the team for road games in a new series called “Truckin’ with the Tigers.” This weekend, it’s out to Texas for a […]
What's it like to travel with Auburn football? Senior writer Jeff Shearer is giving fans a look behind the curtain this season as he tags along with the team for road games in a new series called "Truckin' with the Tigers."
This weekend, it's out to Texas for a top 15 SEC West showdown with Texas A&M. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. CT(CBS), but stay locked in here for updates as Auburn visits the Lone Star State.
When the Auburn football bus caravan arrived at Columbus Airport Friday afternoon for the flight to College Station, Texas, Joshua Thompson was waiting.
Auburn's director of football operations, Thompson assisted while a TSA agent checked IDs and highlighted the name of each student-athlete, coach, and support staffer on the charter flight manifest.
It's one of hundreds of logistics Thompson coordinates for each Auburn road trip, along with associate athletic director Jeremy Roberts, football chief of staff Brad Larrondo, director of sports nutrition Lauren Silvio and director of player development Jorrell Bostrom.
"It's like being an event planner or a travel agent for 208 people," Thompson said. "People ask me all the time why I pack so light. It's because I only want one bag because I'm worried about the other 208 people's bags."
Auburn's Kyle Field clash represents a homecoming for Thompson, a 2011 Texas A&M graduate who began his career with the Aggies in operations and recruiting before working for football programs at Louisiana and Arkansas prior to joining Bryan Harsin's Auburn staff this year.
"When this opportunity arose, I had to jump on it," Thompson said. "It's great to work with a head coach who understands logistics and operations, and has a set plan of the way he wants things to be done. That way there's no guessing.
"Details are the most important thing for us because there are a lot of small things that can become a big issue. To be focused on the small things so that we can ultimately win the game on Saturday, because you don't want something that you're in charge of to slow down the team."
For those aspiring to work in operations, Thompson offers advice.
"Leave no stone unturned," he said. "Make sure you know if there's a train track intersecting the route from the hotel to the stadium, because a train could come and it throws off your entire pregame.
"The details are very important, and something exciting about the job for me because I like to challenge myself, and every day is a challenge. I'm tested 365 days a year."
Thankfully for Thompson and the Tigers, the team hotel is two miles from Kyle Field, and there's not a train track in sight.
"It's great to be back here as a graduate after spending 10 years, the majority of my adult life, working here in College Station," he said. "But I'm really looking forward to winning this game tomorrow as an Auburn Tiger."