Saturday Could Be A Guess-ing Game

Auburn senior Lee Guess talks about his role as a starter heading into Saturday's game.

Auburn, Ala.--The numbers are almost mind-boggling. In two seasons Lee Guess had 180 receptions for 2,893 yards and 23 touchdowns. However, those numbers are a distant memory for Guess from his playing days at Hewitt-Trussville High with Brandon Cox, but it speaks of the chemistry the two had during their high school days.

It is a chemistry that has shown up when the two have had a chance to play at the same time during games at Auburn. It has always been there during practices. Now that chemistry will have a chance to be showcased once again as Guess is Auburn's projected starter at slot receiver for the season opener against Washington State. Not the biggest or the fastest, Guess is at his best in crucial situations and he says that will be his job this season for the Tigers.

"It will be a nice chance to come back out here my senior year and get that feeling back," Guess says. "When all the third downs come things will be set up. That's what we're both used to and he'll find me. When he's in trouble I do my best to get open."

Guess caught three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown last season.

Guess and fellow senior Courtney Taylor return as Auburn's most experienced receivers with Taylor likely the focus of every defense the Tigers face this season in the passing game. Because of that Guess says he knows the pressure is obviously on someone other than Taylor to step up and make plays. That's something he is looking for out of the entire group of receivers.

"Obviously, we're a younger group overall," Guess says. "We have a lot of people having to understand they have to step up. Everybody is going to be a part of the offense. It's not just two guys it's going to be about six. We have a lot of people that have to step in.

"CT might have more pressure than me because when it's third down they'll probably double him," Guess adds. "It will be up to the rest of us to get open which is a great opportunity for us.

"Whenever we play first through third downs and it's not long yardage CT will have a lot of his catches then. If they double him it comes to us. That will make it beneficial for Cox to look at everybody. It will help us in the long run I think."

Taylor predicts that Guess will be a contributor. "He knows how to get open," Taylor says. "He runs probably the best precise routes I have seen of any other receiver I have been around. We are looking for big things out of him."

The job of getting the rest of the receivers up to speed isn't only on position Coach Greg Knox, but falls on the shoulders of Taylor and Guess as well. Taking on the role of teachers this spring and summer, the duo have helped get players such as Rodgeriqus Smith, Montez Billings, Robert Dunn and Tim Hawthorne ready for what they will see this season.

"Basically you've been here for so long that you have the system," Guess says. "That helps with anybody that has been here for a while. Everybody depends on you to at least show them the right way if not tell them. Me and CT have taken on the initiative to lead the receiving corps in the right direction, let them follow us and if they have any questions they can follow us. Hopefully that will pay off when the season starts."

One thing is certain this season. There won't be a player as excited about Saturday's game as Guess. While some may be just as pumped up, the thought of starting his first game as a senior is something that will drive Guess throughout the week and into Saturday.

"I guess knowing that I'll be the first guy out there when they call a certain personnel, I like being under pressure," Guess says. "I think I succeed better when I'm under pressure. Hopefully, I'll be able to do that when third downs come and we need a first down."

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