A junior college transfer who was known more for his basketball skills in high school, the 6-4 Rodriguez has shown steady improvement since arriving on campus and says that he becomes more confident each and every day on the field.
"It's real exciting," Rodriguez says. "I'm getting the hang of the offense now and feeling more comfortable on the field. It just comes by practicing every day and as Coach (Greg) Knox keeps stressing to me, it's all about perfection with the players. I just feel real comfortable now. I think I'll have better practices and games now."
Coming from junior college, Rodriguez was a high priority recruit for the Auburn coaching staff because of the senior class this season. With Courtney Taylor the only non-senior in the regular rotation entering the year, Rodriguez was put on the fast track for playing time this season, but he says that getting ready to play in the SEC was a lot tougher transition than he realized.
"Coming in I knew it was going to be tough," Rodriguez says. "I didn't know it was going to be this tough trying to adjust from junior college to Division I-A football. At first I thought it wasn't that different, but it's a lot different now. Everybody has a lot of talent so it's all about technique on this level."
Rodriguez goes up high for a catch earlier in the year.
In seven games this season Rodriguez has caught nine passes for 157 yards and is coming off his best career game with three catches for 55 yards against Ole Miss last Saturday. Even though his production has increased each week in the offense, he says that there is still a transition period for him because life in the SEC is so different than anything he's ever experienced.
"The time spent on the game in the video room and out there on the field (Rodriguez says is the biggest change for him)," he notes. "Coach stresses a lot of technique and we just work on that every day. The technique is so detailed, that was the biggest surprise for me."
Unlike many junior college players that come into a program, Rodriguez has had the luxury of easing into things because of the veterans on Auburn's receiving corps. Seniors Devin Aromashodu, Ben Obomanu and Anthony Mix as well as Taylor have all been instrumental in his development he says.
"That helps me tremendously," Rodriguez says of having experienced players to learn from. "Just watching them helps me to recognize what can happen in certain situations. They set an example for me to follow. They're great receivers so I just follow in their footsteps and try to get better."
This weekend the Tigers will travel for the third time this season when they face the Kentucky Wildcats on the road in Lexington. After playing the first five games of the 2005 season at home, Rodriguez finally got to experience his first road game when Auburn played at Arkansas last month. Following that with a trip to LSU, he notes that now he's pretty confident about playing in a hostile environment.
"It was a lot different with the crowd against you," Rodriguez says. "I had never experienced anything like that with that amount of people against you. I like stuff like that, the crowd against you that wants you to do bad. When you do good it silences the whole stadium. I like stuff like that and those types of opportunities. The road won't be a problem for me anymore. I like the people against me, I like to prove people wrong."
With three games remaining in the regular season, the Auburn offense has been solid and comes into the weekend leading the SEC in scoring offense and total offense. While that is something to be proud of, Rodriguez says he feels like the unit is just beginning to come into its own.
"I don't think the best has happened yet," Rodriguez says. "We have so much talent on this offense. We can be the best offense in the country. I think we'll keep building every week. The running game is getting smoother, the passing game is getting smoother. I think we'll just keep building every game and do big things by the end of the year."