Freshman Hoping to Prove He Is Ready

Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis is making a push for playing time as a true freshman for the football Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Scot Loeffler said Auburn's offense has progressed since the Tigers' scrimmage on Saturday and the wide receivers have been making strides as a group, but the coordinator noted that small things still need to be tightened up as the Tigers prepare for their season opener.

One of the players hoping to be on the field when Auburn plays football vs. Clemson on Sept. 1st is true freshman receiver Ricardo Louis.

"It's been a grind," said Louis. "Everybody is fighting for a spot, I'm fighting for a spot. Nobody really has a job yet so I'm fighting, working hard."

A 6-2, 210-pounder out of Senior High in Miami Beach, Fla., Louis said he arrived on the Auburn campus this summer with a mindset to show people he is capable of playing in the Southeastern Conference this fall. After being praised for his work ethic over the summer by his new teammates, Louis said he has continued to push hard in preseason.

"Hopefully, I can (help the team) in any way possible where coach lets me play," he said. "I'm just doing the best I can, playing hard."

A four-star prospect at receiver as a high school senior even though he spent much of his time in high school playing quarterback, Louis has been practicing at the "X" position for wide receiver coach Trooper Taylor where Emory Blake is the returning starter. Redshirt freshman Sammie Coates and walk-on Melvin Ray are also working at the position.

Ricardo Louis is shown at a preseason practice.

Louis noted that Blake has been assisting him with any help he needs on the field. "He helps me out a lot," Louis said. "Every play that I'm not in, he's not in or Sammie is in, he (Blake) tells me what play it is and what I have to do with my splits, what route I'm running. If I'm lost, I can ask him questions. He's been really helpful."

Trying to get as many reps as he can in Loeffler's offense, Louis said the toughest part is picking up the play call in the huddle. "A lot of plays are really long so I just have listen," he said. "If I don't really listen then I'll end up messing up, not line up right, run the wrong route, not blocking."

Louis pointed out that the speed of play and technique in college are a lot different from high school. He said if a receiver does not have good technique he will pay the price at this level, noting, "you're just going to look a fool out there."

To make the travel squad for the opener, Taylor told Louis and the non-senior receivers they would have to be able to contribute on at least two of the special teams units. Louis is working with three–punt returns, kickoff returns and kickoff coverage.

Louis spent some time in high school playing safety so making tackles is something he has experience doing. He noted his job as a defender on kickoffs is to run full speed and squeeze the returner toward the middle of the field.

"I'm just getting used to it," he said about all of his special teams duties. "In high school I did a couple punt returns, but not really as much so I'm just really working at punt return mostly."

Auburn signed just two wide receivers this year. With the other one, Jaquay Williams, not academically cleared yet to practice, Williams has an excellent opportunity to break into the playing rotation.

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