Six games and six wins later, that is starting to change. One of the players who has had a big impact in the group's success says he is pleased with how things are progressing for the receivers in particular and the offense in general.
"It is a great feeling to know that people are starting to give us some credit about how well we are playing," says redshirt sophomore Courtney Taylor. "They are noticing that we can do a lot of things. We realize that we can play better and that is exciting for us. We want to continue to work hard so we can be even more dangerous than we are now."
Taylor leads the Tigers in receptions with 17 and in receiving yards with 274. He has scored two touchdowns and has run the ball two times for 42 yards on reverses.
Head coach Tommy Tuberville says he has been watching the group mature and develop more confidence in what they are doing as part of the new offensive system installed in spring training by coordinator Al Borges. Taylor agrees that the receivers are a more confident bunch in 2004 after having a strong spring training, a good preseason and a productive start to the season.
"When you go out there and play with confidence, it decreases the chances of errors and decreases the mistakes you make," Taylor says. "The confidence we have, and the confidence the coaches have shown in us, have made it possible for us to have much more success than we had last year."
Courtney Taylor has 17 catches for 274 yards this season.
The people who vote in the Top 25 polls are showing more confidence in the Tigers. Taylor says the Tigers have noticed that they have jumped to fourth in both major polls this week. He says that is good, but adds, "More importantly, we want to win the SEC Championship. We know all of the other stuff will take care of itself later because we don't have any control over that, but we do control the SEC West and going to Atlanta."
For the Tigers to assure themselves a spot in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, they can't afford to lose this week vs. Arkansas, a team with just one loss in the conference. The Razorbacks have been a nemesis team for Tuberville, who is just 2-3 vs. Arkansas during his tenure at Auburn.
The Tigers and Razorbacks will square off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in a game that will be nationally televised on CBS. With Arkansas having a totally rebuilt secondary from last year's team, Auburn's wideouts could be a major factor in this week's matchup.
Wide receivers coach Greg Knox says his receivers are doing well. "There are still some little things they have got to continue to work on to get better technique-wise, but as far as making plays they seem to be doing that very well right now."