Tre Smith Talks About His Return To Offense

Auburn's Tre Smith discusses the experiment of playing him at safety and his return to tailback.

Auburn, Ala.--Tre Smith isn't certain where he is on depth chart at tailback, but it is safe to assume he is certainly pleased to once again be a full-time running back.

Auburn coaches experimented using the sophomore tailback at strong safety during the off week. However, with Auburn in game preparations for Western Kentucky this week, Smith has spent all of his time on offense and that is fine with the tailback who began the season as the third stringer behind Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown and ahead of Brandon Jacobs. All four tailbacks have seen prime time action so far this season.

"I don't know," Smith said when asked where he currently is in the tailback depth chart pecking order. "The way we run it, you never know. On some plays they will throw me in there with the first team. We don't really have a certain depth where you are like first, second, third and fourth string. They just throw us in.

"At times they throw me in with the ones," Smith added. "At times I am the last guy to go. He (running backs coach Eddie Gran) wants us to all have a chance with the first team and he wants us to all have a chance with the third team. We always go through a rotation."

Tre Smith is not blue about wearing blue 22 at Tuesday's practice.

Smith said that Gran told him after Sunday's practice to put his blue jersey back on for the next practice on Tuesday. Players dressed in blue are on offense while players in white are on defense at Tiger practices. "I was like, all right," Smith said with a smile.

The tailback had played safety in high school, but said he was not comfortable as a college player backpedaling instead of running forward when the football was snapped.

When asked if the position change was a downer for him last week, Smith said, "I don't know. It wasn't really that I was down, it was that I had no clue what I was getting into. I had no clue about what was going on. I was really confused about what was going on...It was really a surprise."

Smith said that he will be willing to play defense if that is what the coaches want him to do and notes, "I know all of the basic coverages. In an emergency situation I could go back there."

In practice with the defensive backs, Smith collided in the backfield with 260-pound tailback Brandon Jacobs, a player he is competing with for playing time. Smith said the super-sized tailback pulled off on the play and didn't try to flatten the novice defensive back. "Brandon told me that it felt weird and he didn't want to try to run me over," Smith said with a grin.

"I saw Tre a lot on defense when we were practicing, but everytime I would see him out there I would show him some kind of love," Jacobs said. "I would hit him on the butt or tapping him on the helmet. I couldn't see myself just running him over."

Through three games, Smith has carried the ball five times for 13 yards and two touchdowns. He has caught two passes for 10 yards and will continue to return punts and kickoffs.

Smith said he doesn't think he will be splitting practice time between safety and tailback anymore. "If you move around and never actually have a real home for yourself, it is hard to work your way up to a starting spot," he said. "I would rather stay in one position."

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