Receiver Enjoying The Moment

Junior wide receiver Ben Obomanu talks about Auburn's season and the ability of this team to bounce back from adversity.

Auburn, Ala.–-Junior wide receiver Ben Obomanu has gone through the hard times and the good, but through it all has remained steadfast in his attempt to be the best student and football player he can be. His determination and improved play this season is one of the many reasons why the Auburn Tigers were crowned .

A humble player that gives all the credit for Auburn's success to other people, Obomanu has been a solid performer for the Tigers this season. Working in a new offense under the direction of Al Borges, Obomanu says that the "Gulf Coast" offense installed by Borges has been big, but the man himself has been more important to have around for the Tigers.

"He's a credit to a lot of our success," Obomanu says of Borges. "Offensively he's given our offense a lot of confidence. The gameplan by itself has been tremendous all year. Each game out we've always had good offensive production and done some things we haven't been able to do in the past. I believe the main thing is he has all of us believing in his system. He has the trust of all his players and no matter what gameplan he draws up, no matter what he tells us, we always believe what he's telling us and we go out on the field and execute because we feel like everything is going to work out."

In Borges' offense things begin and end with the play of the quarterback. While the quarterback is big in any offense, in this system he must make the correct reads at the line of scrimmage, get the Tigers in the right play and then execute the play with precision. Obomanu says because of that he noticed Borges bond with Jason Campbell very quickly after he arrived.

"I noticed it right away," Obomanu says. "He kind of took Jason under his wing a little more and not focused on the whole offense, but more Jason. It was Jason and then the offense. To me it seemed like he made sure Jason realized he had all the talent and ability to be a great quarterback. That gave Jason that confidence as well knowing that no matter what happens the offensive coordinator is going to have trust in you and you're going to be the guy. That really gave Jason a boost of confidence. That trickled down to everybody else. With Jason being loose and relaxed it got everybody else going. It makes you get loose yourself. I believe it was one of those things that trickled down from Coach Borges to Jason to the rest of the offense."

Obomanu hauls in one of his seven touchdown catches this year. He finished the year third on the team with 25 catches for 359 yards. For his career Obomanu is sixth all-time in Auburn history with 13 TD receptions.

The result was a dominating year by Auburn's offense as they led the league in scoring despite sitting on the ball for many games in the second half. Able to beat you on the ground as well as in the air, the Tigers were nearly unstoppable for much of the season. Obomanu says that he believes the unit was so successful because of the hard times the group went through in the 2003 season when nothing seemed to go right.

"I believe it had a lot to do with our maturity," Obomanu says. "A lot of people say you can't really appreciate the good times unless you've been through the bad times. I believe all those things that happened last year, both collectively and individually, brought all of us close together. We realized all of us have been through the same things together. This year was just a matter of all of us sticking together and saying we weren't going to let some of those things that happened last year happen again this year. It was one of those things you build off. They say you build off the rough times and that's what we did. That's what we've been doing all this year.

"This year has been so special because of last year and all the disappointment, some of the things that we didn't live up and also the way we've played this year under some of the circumstances," Obomanu adds. "It has been a great year and a lot of us haven't had time to sit back and reflect on what this year means. I have talked to a lot of people, including Patrick Nix, and he tells me "you've got a special team and you won't realize how special it is until you look back on it". It has been special and hopefully it will end special too."

Auburn's run to the SEC title this year would not have been possible without the play of Obomanu, Courtney Taylor and the rest of the wide receivers. Making big plays each game in a positive fashion instead of dropping passes, Obomanu says that another strength of Borges was helping the players forget about the bad things and focus on getting better every snap. That was a focal point says Obomanu.

"One of the things we did as a unit is not let the mistakes drown our mood," Obomanu says. "We knew that eventually the offense was going to get it together. Eventually we were going to make some plays. Eventually we were going to be classified as decent wide receivers and live up to the expectations that we have. The coaches keeping us working hard and keeping our focus on the football team getting better has helped us this year to be able to contribute to the offense and help Jason out too."

Auburn now turns its attention to the Sugar Bowl and a tough Virginia Tech team that has won eight straight games. Despite not being a part of the BCS "national championship" game in the Orange Bowl, Obomanu says that winning all of their games has been big for this team no matter the final outcome of the polls. Having the receivers a big part of the reason why has just been icing on the cake.

"This is one of the best years that anyone could hope for," Obomanu says. "Anytime anybody wins a championship or is on a team that has done a lot of unbelievable things that will go down in the record books you always want to be a part of it. That's what's so special is that we were actually a part of it, not just receivers that were on the team. We actually made some plays. We made game changing performances and contributed and caught the balls. We can go back and tell stories to our kids about some big plays we made in big games this year. That is the special part, especially with most of us coming in at the same time. We've come in and gone through all the hard times, now we've got some special times that all of us will remember."

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