Receivers Looking for Consistency

"Dreek" Smith gives his take on what Auburn must do to beat Florida.

Auburn, Ala.--Losing three of its star receivers from last season, the position was filled with uncertainty heading into 2006. Halfway through the regular season schedule, there are still major holes within the unit.

As expected, Courtney Taylor is the team's leading ball-catcher with 25 on the year. But even Taylor has played inconsistently this season. Next in line is walk-on Rodgeriqus Smith with just 12 receptions.

"Our receivers were a major factor (of concern) coming into this season, but I think we've been doing good overall," Smith says.

There hasn't been an abundance of drops this season, but quarterback Brandon Cox has been sacked 18 times already with many being noted as coverage sacks. While the wideouts aren't making any glaring mistakes, they must still improve on getting open.

"That's something we have to work on as a receiving corps," Smith notes. "We've got to get off the man coverage more. We focus on that every day. Our DBs press us a lot so we work on that a lot in practice getting off the man coverage and bump and run."

Smith scored Auburn's only touchdown against Arkansas.

Part of the problems offensively could be that Cox has been a statue in the pocket because of leg injuries, but Smith says that it's still up to the receivers to get the job done.

"We know Cox has been hurt and he's been grinding it out for us," Smith notes. "All we can do is go out there and bear with him. He's making some great throws, but sometimes he's not going to make the great throws and we have to as receivers, we can't ask for the perfect ball all of the time so we've got to go out and make the plays.

"We have the type of athletes to make the plays," he adds. "Hopefully we open it up a little more this week against Florida. We definitely have the type of athletes to make the plays."

Many Auburn players and coaches have used the phrase "open it up" in the last few weeks, but the Tigers are averaging just 13.7 points in their last three SEC games. So what does this phrase mean this week?

"Passing it more, just a more balanced attacking," Smith says. "Passing the ball more, spreading it around a lot. I know they're going to try to stack the box and stop Kenny Irons most of the time. That's what most teams do. It's up to the receivers and tight ends to get open and make the plays."

The Gators have done a superb job of stopping the run this year and are allowing a league best 56.8 yards a game as well as just 9.5 points. However, with the exception of safety Reggie Nelson, the Gators' secondary is the weak spot of the defense as they are 10th in the league in pass defense giving up 202.8 yards per contest.

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