Auburn, Ala.--Entering spring practice senior wide receiver Marcus Davis was the unquestioned leader for new position Coach Kodi Burns as the Auburn Tigers begin the process of preparing for the 2016 season. Playing since he was a true freshman in the offense and always called upon to lead by example, Davis is now one of the guys that Gus Malzahn is counting on to take over the huddle for the Auburn offense and that’s a role he’s very comfortable with.
“I relish it a lot,” Davis said. “I feel like Coach Malzahn is giving me a bigger voice this year to speak to guys. I've always been the guy that led with my actions, so it's kind of natural for, when I get up, guys listen. So I'm trying to take advantage of it, because I know with strong leadership, that's how championships are won.”
A former high school quarterback turned receiver with the Tigers, Davis is one of just two seniors at wide receiver along with Tony Stevens. A player that has seen his game take off since the end of last year, Stevens is also taking on a leadership role for the Auburn offense and Davis said the two are working hard to make sure the group understands what it takes to be successful in the offense.
“We've been in this offensive system for a while now and we know it like the back of our hand, so we're just trying to take the younger guys under our wings,” Davis said. “Just trying to get everybody on one page.
One of the biggest things the wide receivers are dealing with is having a new position coach for the first time. Saying he was surprised that Dameyune Craig left for LSU, Davis also added that he understands coaching is a business. That meant quickly turning the page to Burns, who the senior said has done a great job so far.
“It's a great experience with a new coach, first time in three years with me,” Davis said. “I just think he brings a lot of positive energy. Guys are responding well to him.”
With the receivers trying to take their game to the next level one of the toughest things to deal with this spring is having to work with four different quarterbacks every day in practice. Because Jeremy Johnson, Sean White, Tyler Queen and John Franklin are all getting reps Davis said it’s important to get as much work as possible in with each guy and that was the reason they started throwing on their own earlier than normal this year.
“It's tough, but before spring ball, we've been going with all the guys, catching with all the guys,” Davis said. “You know it's more about a chemistry thing (than) anything. It's tough, but at the same time, we've got a feel for each and every one of them.”
With freshman Kyle Davis already on campus and newcomers Nate Craig, Marquis McClain and Elijah Stove coming in this summer, Davis said the expectations are really high for this group to improve on what it did from a season ago and that starts with hard work.
“It's a lot of potential,” Davis said of the receivers. “We've just got to get everybody on one page. I think that's the biggest thing. We've got guys that are really, really talented and we've just got to be on the page as the quarterbacks and take it from there.”