In Saturday's 37-14 win over Western Kentucky, Rodriguez led all Tiger receivers with 45 yards on two catches, including a team season-long of 39 yards. The rangy 6-4 wideout missed a chance for the big gainer on an underthrown ball and was tripped up on another deep pass, but came through impressively by catching a jump ball from quarterback Blake Field in the third quarter.
"The first opportunity I had I tripped over the DB," Rodriguez says. "I knew the next time I had that opportunity I was going to make something of it. It came and when the ball was in the air I knew I had to make a play happen. That's what I had to do and I did it."
Rodriguez goes up high for the catch.
The 39-yard reception moved Auburn down to the 16-yard line and set up a John Vaughn field goal to give the Tigers a 30-0 lead late in the third quarter.
The sophomore was one of 10 receivers to catch a pass from first-time starter Blake Field, who completed 13-22 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in only his second collegiate game.
"Blake is always a soldier," Rodriguez says of the young QB. "He comes forth with it all the time and Coach Borges trusts Blake and when he went out there he did what he was supposed to do.
"Me and Blake have a good chemistry and relationship going," he adds. "When we go there, when it's our turn we've got to bring it up just like the ones do."
Offensive coordinator Al Borges said after the game that he was impressed with Rodriguez's efforts, and that he should continue to be a bigger part of the offense.
"He's a very rangy kid and has good speed," Borges says. "He can go get the ball as you can see, and he's getting better every week. He really is. When you come here and you didn't have any spring football or anything, there are some growing pains, but I think Pre has done a good job of catching up.
"He's catching the ball well, his routes are getting better. Every phase of his game, I think, is improving," Borges adds. "That's the way it's going to be. You're going to be a little rough around the edge when you haven't had any spring ball."
Despite playing behind Courtney Taylor, Ben Obomanu, Devin Aromashodu and Anthony Mix, who have all been in the program for four years, Rodriguez has five catches for 84 yards on the season while learning on the job.
"I'm taking this year as a learning process and just learning the offense," he says. "I'm just learning the offense and getting better in game situations. I believe that they can put me in there so I can get comfortable with the style of game play and the situations that come upon me and just know how to adjust to them.
"I'm learning to adjust from them naturally and I'm getting all of this
exposure," he adds. "I think this is just helping me get ready for the big
games coming up on down the line."