Young Receiver May Play Early

Robert Dunn is trying to break into the playing rotation. Tommy Tuberville and Greg Knox discuss his chances of doing that.

Auburn, Ala.--With the Tigers losing a pair of reserve wideouts, the odds that true freshman Robert Dunn will see game action is growing.

It also helps that the quick and elusive receiver from Augusta, Ga., is making a lot of good plays in practice.

Coach Tommy Tuberville has noticed the improvement. "Robert is doing better," he says. "He has just got to get his confidence in what he is doing. You can't play full speed the first three or four weeks of practice for us because it is so mind-boggling what to do and how to do it."

However, Tuberville's words are not too discouraging. "He is going to be a player for us," the head coach predicts. "He will probably play this year."

Dunn agrees with Tuberville that he is getting better as the season opener vs. Georgia Tech grows closer. "I think I am getting a little better," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I have been coming out and working real hard. Coach Knox (wide receivers coach Greg Knox) has been pushing me a lot.

"I know a have a long way to go," Dunn says. "I am not going to slow down on what I am doing."

Greg Knox makes a point to the freshman wide receiver.

Knox says that Dunn is making progress, but is a long way from being game-ready. "He is taking baby steps," the wide receiver coach says. "He has got a long way to go. He has got to really pick up his learning here in the next two weeks."

Like Tuberville, Knox says playing wide receiver as a true freshman is not easy in Auburn's offensive system. "It is tough and we have thrown a lot at them in the first two weeks so right now we are kind of pulling back off of them and trying to see if they can pick it up and be able to help us this year.

"Robert is working," Knox adds. "He will stay after practice if you need him to so he is trying and he is working at it so hopefully things are starting to click for him."

Jamoga Ramsey, who was playing well in preseason, suffered a knee injury while trying to make a touchdown catch and is out until spring training of 2006. Another walk-on receiver having a good preseason, Maurice Anderson, is not expected back on the field until spring training so he can concentrate on his academics this fall, Tuberville says.

Dunn says physically he is doing fine at practice, but says there is more to the game at the college level. "It is more mental than physical," he says. "You know, you have just got to think. It just calls for a lot of thinking, knowing where you are at and knowing who all has what on what play."

Physically, the newcomer is doing fine. He has made a variety of impressive catches on short and deep balls and has been elusive at times, too, like one-on-one tackling drills in which he has made a variety of defensive players miss the freshman who changes directions very quickly.

Dunn says he has been doing his best to handle the heat of preseason as well as the bigger, stronger and more physical athletes he is facing. He says he is trying to step up and meet the challenges.

"I am working on everything, my cuts, coming off the ball and releases," he says. "I am not number one on the depth chart so I am not the best out here so I have got to work on everything. I am going to keep on doing that and try to get ready to play."

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