Football Senior Hopes to Carry a Heavier Load

Fullback Jake Slaughter is expected to be a key member of Tommy Tuberville's 2005 Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Gone from last year's backfield are Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, who combined to rush for 2,078 yards and 20 scores. However, lead blocker Jake Slaughter, who helped paved the way for the duo to become first round NFL draft picks, is back for his senior season and ready for an increased role in the offense.

"I think I will have a few chances to catch some passes and maybe score a touchdown or two, and of course lead block also, which I love doing," Slaughter says.

With Brown gone to the NFL, the true fullback position is expected be used more this year with Slaughter returning because he should be one of the better blockers in the SEC. The fifth-year senior, who was held to no gain on his only carry last year, hopes to improve on those statistics in his final season.

"We will probably switch it up some, but hopefully I'll be a bigger part of the offense this year than last year with Ronnie Brown and Carnell back there," he says. "I'm hoping to do a lot more lead blocking and get to catch the ball more, too."

Slaughter won praise from his coaches last season for his improvement as a blocker.

The 6-2, 245-pound senior from Nashville will be playing his final season as a graduate student after receiving a B.A. in Communications a little more than a week ago. He completed his course work this summer while doing his internship with the Auburn University Media Relations staff at the athletic department.

"It was interesting," he notes. "I got to have a behind the scenes look at things and how everything is run and how interviews go. So, I've got the inside scoop."

After being in the program for five years, Slaughter also finished his final two-a-days practice this week, which is something he says he will never forget.

"It's a sentimental time," he says. "It's a lot hard work and I'll always remember it. It's made me tougher mentally and physically and it's definitely something I'll remember."

Slaughter adds that sophomore running back Carl Stewart will also get some work in the fullback position as well as tailback in the West Coast system used by offensive coordinator Al Borges. They will play a key part in the offense blocking for tailbacks Tre Smith and Kenny Irons while first-year starting quarterback Brandon Cox gets settled into his new role.

After taking the day off on Wednesday, Slaughter and the Tigers return to practice on Thursday evening for a single workout with their opener vs. Georgia Tech a little more than two weeks away.

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