Auburn, Ala.--In Saturday night's loss to South Florida, Auburn's wide receivers combined to catch just 10 passes for 89 yards. In week one the numbers were nine catches for 147 yards, better but still not outstanding. Because of that and the struggles to get any big plays out of the passing game, Sunday the Tigers shuffled some things up at wide receiver with redshirt freshman Tim Hawthorne the big mover of the day.
"I worked at the inside slot position with the first team," Hawthorne said. "I hope (it sticks) for this week. Wherever they put me I feel comfortable. I know every position so wherever they put me I have the confidence I know what to do."
Hawthorne said he worked with the first team along with Rodgeriqus Smith and Robert Dunn while both Chris Slaughter and Prechae Rodriguez got some snaps as well. Hawthorne said he's glad to finally be healthy and is ready to take a step up to help out the passing game as the Tigers head into SEC play.
"I'm fine," Hawthorne said. "I feel 100 percent. I feel the best I have all fall. I'm coming off that ankle injury but it shouldn't be a factor.
"A lot of the young guys got a lot of reps today," Hawthorne said. "It wasn't too long of a practice but they implemented a lot of the young guys out there."
Tim Hawthorne's size and athleticism make him one of Auburn's most physical receivers.
One of Auburn's top signees for the 2006 class, Hawthorne has battled through injury problems on the field and also related to a tragic car accident during the spring in which a close friend was killed. Now back to his old self on the field, Hawthorne said he's excited to have the opportunity to get on the field more than his two plays against South Florida.
"Of course," Hawthorne said. "I'm just waiting my turn really. We'll see how everything plays out. Wherever they would like me I'm willing to do it.
"I feel like I have a lot to offer to the offense," he added. "The ankle injury has just hampered me playing time wise."
Despite working mostly on the outside last fall while redshirting, Hawthorne has worked at the slot receiver a good bit this fall to prepare to be ready for just this moment. Now with a chance to see a good bit of playing time this weekend against Mississippi State, the Homewood native said he's ready to bring some excitement to the passing game this Saturday.
"I feel great about it," Hawthorne said. "It's a new opportunity and a chance for me to show what I can bring to the table…what we're lacking right now is the consistent big plays coming out of the group of receivers. Coach (Al) Borges and Coach (Tommy) Tuberville both said they're going to mix and match some people to see what the best combination is. Hopefully I'm one of them and if I start Saturday it would just be an opportunity for me to show the world what I can do."