A Not So Big Mac Ready To Attack Defenses

Jeris McIntyre is expected to be an important member of the 2003 football team's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville hopes that leaner is meaner when it comes to the on-the-field performance of senior wide receiver Jeris McIntyre.

The 6-0, 198-pounder from Tampa, Fla., is becoming more assertive on the field as both a receiver and a leader, Tuberville says. The head coach also notes that McIntyre has dropped some weight and looks to be quicker and in the best condition during his days at Auburn.

McIntyre is the son of former AU running back Secdrick McIntyre.

McIntyre, who weighed 206 earlier this summer, has caught passes well and looked good running with the football in preseason workouts. "I can notice a difference being down to 198 or 197," McIntyre tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I was around 210 or 215 pounds in earlier seasons. I think being trimmer is helping me with my quickness."

"I think I have picked up a step," McIntyre adds. "It is really hard to tell for sure, but it feels like I have. It is great if I have picked up a step to give me a little advantage going against defensive backs."

Tuberville says he likes what he is seeing from the receiver as the Tigers get ready to open the season a week from Saturday when Pac-10 power Southern Cal makes its first ever appearance at soldout Jordan-Hare Stadium. "You can tell that Jeris is stepping up in a leadership role as a senior," Tuberville says. "We are counting on him being an important part of the offense."

In previous preseasons, McIntyre has battled through injury problems, but he is healthy and happy with opening day just around the corner. "If feels nice to be healthy, especially knowing this is my last go around and I am able to do the things at full speed that I need to do to help this football team," he says.

The senior and his teammates were back on the practice field on Thursday after having their first day off from workouts since the start of the preseason. Wearing full pads, the Tigers began installing the game plan for Southern Cal, which beat an Auburn team 24-17 last year on opening day in Los Angeles when AU was ranked 17th nationally. In this matchup, the Tigers will be ranked sixth in the AP poll and USC, the favorite to win its conference, is ranked eighth. The matchup has the potential to be one of the most exciting opening day games ever at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

McIntyre was an All-State performer who was a football, baseball and track star at Catholic High in Tampa. He has four career collegiate starts going into his final season in which he is expected to be the main man at the slot receiver spot. With Silas Daniels missing much of the preseason with a hamstring problem, McIntyre has also worked outside at split end.

McIntyre started against Ole Miss and Georgia last season.

As a freshman McIntyre played in 12 games and started one. He caught six passes for 36 yards. In 2001 as a sophomore he played in 11 games as a reserve and caught 12 passes for 187 yards. As a junior he added 10 catches for 129 yards and scored his first college touchdown vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

McIntyre is trying to take his senior leadership responsibilities seriously and notes that he believes others are trying to do the same thing. "I see leadership all across this team from the seniors to the juniors all the way down to the sophomores and freshmen," he notes. "Everybody has picked it up because they know that is what we have to do to reach our goals this year."

"I am trying to take it up another level knowing the expectations of our team and with me being a senior," McIntyre adds. "I want to take a leadership role and help this team anyway possible. I am trying to be more versatile playing both inside and outside. I want to do whatever I have to do."

Based on his peformance in spring training and preseason drills, McIntyre is ready to have by far his best season as a college player.

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