Smith Having Fun, Even Without A Starting Job

Tre Smith talks about losing his starting job as the Tigers' punt returner, his future with the team and more.

Auburn, Ala.--Heading into Auburn's Capital One Bowl game versus Wisconsin, Tre Smith has been replaced as the Tigers' punt returner with freshman wide receiver Robert Dunn currently running number one at the position.

The redshirt junior says that he and running backs and special teams coach Eddie Gran did not talk to him about the move, and adds that he didn't feel like they needed to. "No, I knew why," Smith explains. "I made bad decisions and that is my fault.

"I get kind of disappointed in myself sometimes for making bad decisions or whatever, but coaches make decisions," Smith continues. "I am just a player."

Gran says the coaching staff decided it was a time to look at others as the punt returner. "We had a long talk about punt returns and we weren't helping him out either," Gran says of Smith. "We had some problems holding up some guys and you've got to block some guys, too.

"You've also got to make good decisions back there and that wasn't happening," Gran adds. "We're looking for that combination of good decision making, catching the football, and us having the opportunity for it to be first and 10 Auburn."

Smith says that it was easy for him to tell that he wasn't going to be handling the return duties any more during the Tigers' break following the Iron Bowl. "I just know that over the break, like when we had a break, he was calling Lee (Guess) and Brad (Lester) and Robert (Dunn) and he had them out there practicing, but he didn't call me," Smith says. "So, I was like, ‘Alright, I guess I am not practicing any more.' We never actually talked about it, I just wasn't on the depth chart when I came back."

Guess has been working as a punt returner all year. Lester just began doing that recently. "I have never really been a punt return guy, but Coach Gran asked me to do it," says Lester, who will be a kickoff returner again for the bowl game with senior wideout Devin Aromashodu.

Despite not holding on to his job as the Tigers' starting punt returner, Smith says that he is still working hard to try and help his team and also have a good time in the process. "I am just going to keep doing what I do," he notes. "I am just trying as hard as I can out there and having fun. I mean I am just trying to have fun. Football is a game. Every once in a while you lose track of that and you start getting too worried about it and it stresses you and all this stuff, but I am just going to go out there and have fun any way I can."

Tre Smith takes a handoff versus Kentucky.

He also notes that he is pretty solid on his future plans with the Tigers. "I have got another year to come back and I am planning on it unless something drastically bad happens," Smith says. "I have still got school paid for for a year, getting my degree, getting a little extra school paid for. There is no point in me just leaving just because I am not playing on the football field."

Right now, Smith says he is really enjoying his favorite time of the year to be an Auburn Tiger. "We are all excited about Christmas," he notes. "This is the fun time of year. We are getting our gifts. We are getting ready to go to the bowl game. We are getting to go to a good bowl. We are all just having fun as a team out there at practice.

"This is the most fun week of practice," he adds. "Everybody is out there laughing, joking around and playing with each other and stuff. Even little fights break out, but they are fun fights where everybody is laughing and joking around and stuff. This is the most fun time of the year. We are all happy right now."

Smith also notes that he is especially excited about the Tigers' destination for their bowl game this season and its proximity to his home in Venice Beach, Fla. "It is fun to go home, too, because I have only got a little way to go to the bowl game so I don't have to travel," he says. "I only have to drive like an hour and a half. I am happy we are playing in Orlando. Since I have been here Orlando is the most fun bowl I have been to. The Capital One Bowl my freshman year was more fun than all the other bowls. We went to Disney World. We went to Universal Studios. We went and did all of that stuff and it was so fun. "

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