Slaughter Hopes To Step Up For His Team

Jake Slaughter is going to have some big shoes to fill for the Tigers at fullback this season.

Auburn, Ala.--Jake Slaughter says he is ready be the man at fullback for Auburn this fall. With the junior being the only returning fullback with any game experience the Tigers cannot afford for him to fall short of accomplishing that goal.

"Being the only guy coming back makes me realize that I have got to step up," Slaughter explains. "I have got to learn everything and make sure I know what to do and how to do it. That just puts more pressure on me, which is what I want. So, I have just got to step up and get the job done."

Slaughter has quite a bit of experience at the position despite a move to linebacker his redshirt freshman year. The 6-2, 237-pounder played his first four games as a fullback and then was moved to linebacker for the remainder of the 2002 season. However, during spring practice last season Slaughter was moved back to fullback and spent the entire season backing up Brandon Johnson and only had seven carries for 23 yards.

Besides being the only experienced player at fullback, another reason Slaughter will be key to the Tigers' offensive production this season will be due to an expanded role for the fullback in new offensive coordinator Al Borges' offense.

"As a ball carrier not much, but as a receiver quite a bit and as a blocker quite a bit," Borges explains about how a fullback is utilized in his system. "There was a day when we ran him a lot more than we do today, but he is a huge part of our offense, but he won't show a lot of what he does just in terms of the scoreboard."

After playing both offense and defense for the Tigers, Slaughter has found a home at fullback.

Slaughter says that he is excited about the possibility of not only a starting job, but an expanded role for that job as well. "I like that a lot. They are passing the fullback out of the backfield a lot more and I like that and that should show off my hands a little more and that is good," he notes.

Slaughter also says that showing his receiving skills is something he is thrilled about getting the chance to do. "I have been working on them a lot," the junior explains. "So, I am just trying to keep it consistent and just keep catching them they throw to me."

Slaughter says that he feels like the new offensive scheme that Borges has been installing this week will be a big boost to the Tigers' offense.

"I think it helps us," Slaughter notes. "It shows a little something different and the thing is you put two tailbacks in and the defense isn't going to know what is going to happen. So, if you get the fullback in it could be run or pass so that is what helps there the most."

Slaughter holds on to a pass during Tuesday's practice.

He also explains that another plus about Borges has been his willingness to adapt and that has made the transition into a new offensive system very easy. "I like Coach Borges a lot and one of the great things he is doing is coming in and using a lot of the same terminology and that really helps us out," Slaughter says.

"He is using some of the same things as last year except for a few different pass routes and stuff so it has been easy to learn so that is nice," the fullback explains about the plan for the running game.

With redshirt freshmen Chris Chappell and Andrew Turman behind Slaughter at his position, he says that he is getting to enjoy another new part of the job this spring. "I think Brandon Johnson led me and helped me out a lot," Slaughter notes. "So, I am showing the same thing he did for me with the younger guys and it is just a fun thing to do."

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