Tiger Walk-on Looking for More Action

Rodgeriqus Smith comments on the Tigers as they prepare for an SEC road test.

Auburn, Ala.--As Auburn prepares for its second conference road game of the year, sophomore Rodgeriqus Smith says he is looking forward to becoming a bigger part of his team's offense.

The 6-2, 184-pound walk-on used a strong preseason to earn a spot in the starting lineup. Through four games he is tied for second on the team in receptions with tight end Gabe McKenzie at six and has the team's best average per catch at 27.2 yards.

Only Courtney Taylor, who has 18 receptions for 224 yards, has been more productive as a receiver so far this season for the Tigers.

Smith is hoping to see more footballs thrown in his direction as early as Thursday night. "I think that is most definitely going to happen," he says. "I think we are going to open it up and pass it more this week. Against Buffalo we were kind of vanilla on offense."

The Tigers threw just 14 passes against the Bulls in a 38-7 victory over Buffalo. Starter Brandon Cox only threw 10 in a game in which he played with a heavily wrapped ankle. Smith predicts that will change on Thursday night as the Tigers take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia.

"Cox has looked real good in practice," Smith says. "Against Buffalo he couldn't plant on Saturday, but I think he is going to be throwing the ball real good against South Carolina."

Smith scores a touchdown in Auburn's first SEC road game at Mississippi State.

The sophomore receiver says to look for an Auburn team ready to put on a good show for the ESPN television audience on Thursday night. "This is a game that will get us a lot of national attention," he says. "We have to go out there and set the tone early and show them why we are ranked number two in the nation."

Smith saw very limited playing time last year, but that has changed in 2006. The sophomore says he is becoming more comfortable each week in his role as a starter and hopes to become a receiver Cox will look for more often in the coming weeks.

"Every day in practice we talk about the young guys need to step up and be ready to make big plays in games," he says. "We know Courtney Taylor is going to be double covered in most games. When that happens we have to take advantage of that and make catches."

Kickoff time is 6:47 p.m. on Thursday from Williams-Brice Stadium as the Tigers look to improve their record to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC against South Carolina, which is 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference.


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