Auburn, Ala.--It didn't take long for Auburn freshman wide receiver Tim Hawthorne to make his presence felt on the practice field during his first preseason camp with the Tigers. Showing a knack for playing the position, the 6-3, 207 Hawthorne made several nice catches during his first practice and let it be known that he was ready to help the offense right away.
"That's what I want," Hawthorne said. "I want to be thrown in there and make my mistakes now and get them over with. By the time we play Washington State I'll be ready to go. I don't care, I'll take the monkey off my back by studying the film and listening and concentrating. That's what I came to Auburn for, to play early. I'm glad it's me and not anybody else."
Always a big receiver, Hawthorne has spent countless hours in the weight room getting ready to capitalize on his chances to play as a true freshman. Getting stronger and also quicker with every passing day, Hawthorne said coming to Auburn early and working with Strength and Condition Coach Kevin Yoxall was a great move for him.
"It has paid off," Hawthorne said. "The summer workouts and the conditioning has helped me tremendously thanks to Cox Yox and his staff. I'm ready physically it's just the mental part. That's the key part of things."
Always a big receiver since his days at Homewood, Hawthorne is now up to almost 210 pounds and is as quick as ever.
Just like every freshman Hawthorne said he has struggled with the learning part of things in his first week as a Tiger. That's not surprising because of the amount of things thrown at the players that must be learned in a short period of time. He said that and the tempo of the practices are the hardest things to adjust to but he's getting better every day.
"It's real tough because everything is new to you as far as the upperclassmen because they've seen it before," Hawthorne said. "Every freshman is going to go through the period where they have downfalls but it's how you recover and how you come back the next day. That's what I'm doing and hopefully I'll be ready when we play Washington State.
"It has been real tough just trying to manage the speed of the game and maximize my assignments," Hawthorne added. "At the same time you're going hard. It's really tough on the freshmen but that's what this is for. It's going to get me better and if I don't do good one day I have to get better tomorrow."
Following one day of action in full pads the Tigers took Monday off before beginning a stretch of two-a-day practices on Tuesday morning. Normally where the coaches separate the wheat from the chaff on a football team, Hawthorne said he knows how important it is for him to be seen doing positive things in the next week of practice.
"I just want to complete all of my assignments on the field and make plays," Hawthorne said. "I have to be a playmaker and have to allow myself to be seen by the head coach, my position coach and the offensive coordinator. If I go out there and make plays then everything else will take care of itself."