Duke 'Probably Unlikely,' Malzahn Says

Auburn may be without top wide receiver Duke Williams for at least this week's game against Georgia.

Auburn, Ala.--Injured in last week’s loss to Texas A&M, Auburn’s leading receiver Duke Williams is likely out this week according to Coach Gus Malzahn as the Tigers continue to prepare to face the Georgia Bulldogs on the road. Hit low while attempting to catch a pass from Nick Marshall, Williams was helped off the field favoring his right knee.

"He's week-to-week right now," Malzahn said. "We'll see how he progresses.

"I'm not ready to say that," he added when asked if Williams would be out this week. "But it's probably unlikely."

For the season Williams leads Auburn with 38 receptions for 609 yards and five touchdowns. On track for one of the best seasons ever for a Tigers’ receiver, Williams’ questionable availability puts the pressure on the rest of Auburn’s wide receiver group, but it’s not something that is foreign to them. Playing all last season without Williams, Sammie Coates, Quan Bray, Ricardo Louis, Marcus Davis, Melvin Ray and others will have to pick up the slack.

“The positive is that all of the other receivers are back and they led us to the national championship game and made plays,” Malzahn said. “We have a lot of confidence in that group. Strategically we just have to put the guys in the right position game plan-wise.”

One of the keys for the Tigers may be the play of Ray. While he has just five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown this season, with much of that coming in the season opener against Arkansas, Ray’s time is now and Malzahn said they’ve got a lot of confidence in the former minor league baseball player.

“Melvin has had a very solid year,” Malzahn said. “He did a very good job filling in for Duke in some areas. He’s an excellent blocker. He made a very good catch. He got hit pretty good and protected the football and bounced back up. He’s just got a lot of winner in him. He’s an older guy with a lot of experience. we have a lot of trust in him.”

Melvin Ray is capable of making plays for the Tigers in place of Duke Williams

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