Auburn, Ala.--Looking for the big plays on offense that can generate points in a hurry, the Auburn Tigers have been looking to create some of those chunk yardage situations this season. On Saturday against ULM Coach Gus Malzahn got just what he was looking for with Tony Stevens, Kyle Davis and Nate Craig all able to stretch the defense at times.
“We talked about that two weeks ago, that we needed to give our guys more chances downfield, and that’s been an emphasis for us,” Malzahn said. “We had one that was a pass interference and another that was close. We have to take chances down the field. I think we had two freshmen catch touchdowns on deep balls, so that is always good.”
Part of a very talented incoming class at receiver, Davis, Craig and Elijah Stove all did some good things on Saturday. Catching two passes for 58 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, Davis has been the most productive of the group this year with seven grabs for 178 yards.
Adding to their time on the field against the Warhawks, Craig’s first touchdown grab and Stove’s two catches for 20 yards got them really involved for the first time this season. Malzahn said all three have continued to improve and now it’s time to keep adding to what they do on the field.
“I think it’s very important,” the coach said. “Those guys are very talented. It’s just a matter of time when the light goes on and they can start playing and not have to think. The more times they get out there, the better. It was good to see all three of those guys make plays, and I know that will help us later on in the season.”
With Stevens becoming a big threat in the passing game with Ryan Davis and Marcus Davis dependable guys in the slot, the addition of the three freshmen has given quarterback Sean White more targets to look for in the passing game. Preparing to go on the road for the first time this weekend at South Carolina and with still more than half of the season left to play, the sophomore QB said he’s looking forward to seeing how much the young guys progress moving forward.
“I think that’s just how it is with young players,” White said. “With freshmen, as they move along, as they get older throughout the season, you know, they start to learn the playbook they start to figure out the college game and adjust to the speed and all that, so I think they’ll just keep getting better all year long.”