Auburn needs competition at WR

By Robert Rousseau  |   Monday, May 12, 2008  |  Comments( 0 )

Auburn Tigers
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Everyone who follows the Auburn Tigers knows that their current No. 1 wide receiver, Rodgeriqus Smith, was formerly a walk-on.

And that’s what makes the 52 balls for 705 yards and five touchdowns Smith pulled in as a junior so amazing.

Still, for a while one had to wonder if Smith wasn’t a great fit for Tony Franklin’s new high-powered spread offense. In early March, the new offensive coordinator seemingly gave Smith, who wasn’t really impressing at the time, a boost.

“I think the good thing is that I don't think it's him (Rod Smith) being slower as much as everybody else getting better," Franklin said. "I think that's a good thing. He'll either get better or somebody else will pass him by. That's a good problem. Your (third) receiver needs to be as good as your (best). That's what our goals are."

Smith will either get better, or somebody else will pass him by? Ouch. Well, kind of. Still, there was no arguing with Franklin’s point. Competition does tend to bring out the best in people. What’s more, if you can’t handle the competition in practice, then one would have to think that SEC games are going to be a big-time issue.

Interestingly, a few weeks later things were looking much better for Smith. On the team's final day of spring practice, April 2, he managed to turn a short gain into a 63-yarder thanks to his tackle-breaking ability. He also made a leaping grab for another long gain. All told, Smith hauled in three balls for 91 yards.

Smith is an unbelievably competitive and motivated individual, so Franklin's comments regarding competition probably fired the receiver up. There is no mistaking that competition breeds, well, competitiveness. And that breeds quality play, which is something that the Tigers haven’t had a ton of at the receiver position over the years.

In other words, Smith will benefit from the new focus on the position as much as anyone.

In the end, fans have to like what Franklin has brought to Auburn's wideout position. Thanks to his coaching methods, Smith might be even better in 2008, and that's a great thought for Tigers followers.
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About Robert Rousseau

Robert Rousseau is a sports writer that has been published in a variety of print and online venues. He’s been writing for for almost three years now. When Rousseau isn’t writing about college football he tends to be penning mixed martial arts pieces for or...
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