Offensive coordinator Al Borges says he is impressed with how the fullback got better throughout the 2004 season and notes that Slaughter will be a key part of the 2005 Auburn football team.
Slaughter looks to be as quick as ever and is up to a healthy-looking 242 pounds as the Tigers get into the serious portion of preseason practices.
"I am really excited about this year," Slaughter says. "Everybody is telling us that we aren't going to be as good. I am excited about going out and sneaking up on some people and just beating them.
"Everybody is working hard," the fullback adds. "Everybody is working together as a team. I am excited to get the season started."
The fullback is shown during a spring training workout earlier this year.
Slaughter says he believes he and his teammates worked hard in their voluntary summer sessions. "I think we are in good condition," he says. "Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) told us all summer long that we have a target on our backs after a great season and we needed to work harder than we did last year, which is what we have done all summer."
Head coach Tommy Tuberville says he hopes to see Slaughter develop into a team leader. Slaughter says that is what he is trying to do.
"I think I definitely have more of a leadership role with all of the young backs on the team," the fullback says. "Hopefully, I will get a chance to catch a few more passes this year with Ronnie Brown gone. I am still excited about my role as a blocker. I like doing that, too."
Slaughter says he is ready to attack the 2005 season going full speed ahead. "I have been hurt the last few summers, but this year I wasn't hurt at all," he notes. "I am probably the strongest I have ever been and in the best shape I have ever been in. I am ready to get the pads on and play football."
Jake Slaughter (right) is shown during a summer workout with noseguard Josh Thompson (left).
At 242 pounds, the fullback should be a strong blocker and a load to tackle with the football in his hands. "It is a good weight for me," he says. "I am moving well and it is a weight I want to stay at."
Slaughter says he and other running backs are on a mission to prove they can get the job done this fall. "I don't think people understand how good our tailbacks are because they have been overshadowed by Ronnie and Carnell, but we have always known. I think some people will be surprised."
Slaughter became a bigger part of the 2004 offense as the season progressed. Borges says he was really pleased with the way Slaughter played with a physical style down the stretch run of AU's 13-0 season.
"The offensive coordinator and the coaches got more confidence in me as the season went on and I got more confident and physical on the field," Slaughter says. "I feel like I got better and better and I want to take that (momentum) into my senior season."