Auburn's Receivers Becoming Playmakers

Silas Daniels' touchdown catch set an Auburn record Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.–-Just one year ago Auburn's wide receivers were one of the weak links of an offense that struggled to get the ball down the field through the air. Not any more.

Saturday quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Brandon Cox combined for 274 yards and four touchdowns on just 21 attempts as Auburn bombed Louisiana Tech 52-7 on homecoming. Most of those yards and all four touchdowns came to the wide receivers. A big change from last season when Auburn's receivers combined for just eight touchdowns all of last season. Sophomore Courtney Taylor said the difference is as easy as Al Borges.

"I really feel that it's just the offense," Taylor said. "With this offense it gives so many guys and opportunity to make plays. That's what I really like about it. It just comes down to when the opportunity presents itself you take advantage of it. As you can see now eight different receivers have scored. I think it's a great offense and just getting guys open."

Ben Obomanu hauls in one of his three catches on Saturday. He finished with 67 yards through the air.

The opportunity came early for junior Ben Obomanu and he didn't wait to seize the moment. Running a corner route in the end zone, Obomanu broke free from his man for a split second only to see the ball thrown short. Not giving up on the play, Obomanu came back to the ball and snatched it out of the air in front of the defender for his first touchdown of the day in the third quarter. Later in the period Obomanu repeated the feat, grabbing an underthrown ball for a touchdown out of the clutches of a Bulldog defender.

"On both plays I was wide open, but the quarterbacks tried to take something off the ball and loft it up in the air," Obomanu said. "I guess they thought I was wide open more than anything else. One of the things I wanted to do was focus and concentrate. Before the game I asked the Lord to bless me and if I had the opportunity to take advantage of it. The opportunity came and the ball wasn't perfect, but I wasn't going to let those opportunities slip out of my hands."

The biggest play of the game came again by way of the wide receivers and the passing game. Following Louisiana Tech's only scoring play of the game, a 78 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, Auburn was looking to gain the momentum back and that was exactly what Campbell and fellow senior Silas Daniels did. Hooking up for an 87 yard touchdown strike, the longest in school history, the duo took the wind out of the Bulldogs' sails and put the final nail in the homecoming game. Taylor said he couldn't have been happier if he had made the play.

"It was great," Taylor said. "I remember when he went in. I told him "hey man, let's do it. Don't hold anything back". Silas got out there and made a play and that's what he does. I'm very happy for him and proud of him."

Many times the difference between making plays and not is confidence. That was something sorely lacking in Obomanu and most of the receivers last season, but the Selma native said that's not the case this season.

"We realize now that we're pretty good receivers," Obomanu said. "A lot of things happened in the past couple of years, whether it be us, the coaches or the circumstance, that didn't allow us to live up to the expectations that we all have. Now we're playing with a lot more confidence and we realize the things this team can do. We're going out to work hard and try to put our offense in good situations in the future."

While experience and maturity has been a key for Auburn's offensive production this season, there are many other factors involved. Included in that is a new offensive scheme and attitude brought by Borges. Taylor said that the professional attitude and the work ethic the coaches have rubs off on the players and has made the receivers a threat to opponents this season.

"It says a lot for our coaching staff," Taylor said. "They are getting us prepared. They are getting us ready. They were like "we're not going to overlook these guys and in order for you to be a good team you're going to play like a good team each and every week". That's basically what our coaches were saying the whole week. If you're the number six team play like the number six team and practice like the number six team, don't come out flat. We just want to play with a swagger."


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