Slaughter Has Higher Expectations For Offense

Jake Slaughter discusses his play and the performance of the Auburn offense as the Tigers prepare for game three.

Auburn, Ala.--Senior fullback Jake Slaughter sees better Saturdays on the horizon for the Auburn football team's offense.

"Personally, I think we are a young group and that we are all coming together," he says. "I think you saw a little improvement from week one to week two.

"The young guys playing tailback right now are coming together and I believe if we keep practicing hard we are going to become a really good offense with a really good running game.

"I think the OL is still kind of getting fit and getting used to each other," Slaughter says of the offensive front, which features new starters with Joe Cope at center and Tim Duckworth at guard taking over for Jeremy Ingle and Danny Lindsey. "I think you will see in practice and in the game next week that it will all come together."

While Auburn's coaches are trying to establish who the top tailbacks will be, Slaughter has made it crystal clear he is the number one guy at fullback. He has won praise for his blocking in games one and two as he picked up where he left off at the end of the 2004 season.

"They put me in the game 50 to 60 percent of the time now," he says. "Last year I was probably in 30 to 40 percent of the time. They are definitely playing me more. That is great for me. I am trying to be as physical as possible and hopefully I can get some touches later on this year, too."

Slaughter says he hopes with the expanded playing time as a blocker that he will have the opportunity to carry the football from time to time.

"They give me the ball a little more in practice," the senior says. "We just have got to get it in the game. I just have to talk to Cox (quarterback Brandon Cox) to look my way a little more," Slaughter adds with a laugh."I am not saying I am a great runner, but a few catches in the flat would be nice."

Jake Slaughter's blocking has caught the attention of NFL scouts.

Slaughter says that his main assignments are to be a blocker and a team leader. "I have to realize that I am not going to touch the ball a lot and that I need to be a punishing blocker and really open up holes for the tailback and get him in the end zone."

With the Tigers facing a pair of low-profile opponents the next two weeks with Ball State coming to Jordan-Hare Stadium and Western Kentucky visiting the next weekend, Slaughter says the Tigers will not be slacking off.

"We have got to work really hard in practice and really hard in the games to improve our technique and assignments," he says. "We need to improve the overall offense. As you can see, we are not to the level we want to be at. We need to improve so we can beat the teams later down the road."

Saturday at 1:30 p.m. the Tigers will take on Ball State. Slaughter has looked at video of the Cardinals and has this assessment of their defense. "They move a lot and they try to trick you with their defensive schemes," he says. "It shouldn't be a problem if we continue to practice hard. We should be able to handle it very nicely."

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