Looking To Bounce Back From Sophomore Slump

Junior wide receiver Devin Aromashodu looks to become a significant player in the 2004 Auburn football team's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--Although he was No. 1 in your program, that wasn't his number on the depth chart during what turned out to be a disappointing sophomore season for Devin Aromashodu.

After a solid spring earlier this year, the wide receiver regained his spot on the first team offense he had lost during his sophomore slump, but he will have to play well in the preseason to hold onto that position with junior Ben Obomanu pushing for playing time, too.

Wide receiver coach Greg Knox says he will be watching No. 1 closely throughout the month of August as the Auburn Tigers prepare for their Sept. 4th football opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe.

"The one thing I would like to see out of Devin is for him to have a good fall camp," Knox says. "He is starting to show that he is getting his confidence back and showing he can make the big plays like we expect him to make. That is what I want to see."

As a true freshman, Aromashodu started eight games and caught 18 passes for 304 yards. Last year, he struggled to catch the football and his playing time decreased significantly. He did get one start, but caught just three passes for 22 yards for the entire season.

Devin Aromashodu is shown in action during his true freshman season in 2002.

"I think Devin has had a good summer," Knox says. "He has done well. I think he has grown up some. I think he has gotten smarter about some of the things he does and it is starting to show."

Aromashodu says he is stronger than ever as he goes into his junior season checking in at 6-2, 204 pounds. Physically, he has never looked better. In voluntary summer workouts the wideout caught the football much better than he did last year and he hopes to continue that trend this month and throughout the season.

Aromashodu says not only is he expecting to be better, he is expecting the whole wide receiver corps to be improved after a less than impressive group effort in 2003. "We have more experience and more confidence," he says. "I expect our offense to take more chances throwing the ball deep in an attempt to stretch the field. I think the receivers are going to be better."

Knox says when it is time to stretch the field, Aromashodu should be a good option for quarterback Jason Campbell when the senior is looking for the big play. "He is a guy who has the speed outside," Knox says. "He is always going to be a deep threat whenever he is on the field."

New offensive coordinator Al Borges has been emphasizing the need to be more efficient at throwing the long pass to open up the running lanes for tailbacks Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams as well as the short passing routes. Aromashodu says he likes what he has seen of the new offense that Borges began installing in spring drills.

"Everybody is more comfortable with the offense," the wideout says. "I like Coach Borges. He has a lot of enthusiasm. He is a nice guy and is very cool."

Aromashodu adds that the offense should be difficult for opposing teams to read. "That is part of what we do," the junior notes. "Coach Borges sets it up so we set up the defense and they think something is coming and we run something else instead."

Aromashodu says his summer voluntary workouts were productive and now his focus is on keeping his concentration on carrying out his assignments. If he stays healthy and plays up to his potential, there is a good chance that the wideout from Miami will have his best collegiate performance this fall as a junior.

"Devin Aromashodu has the talent to be a very good receiver for us," Borges says. "I am excited to see what kind of season he can have."

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