Freshman Receiver Excited About Road Trip

Ben Obomanu hopes to display what a major catch he was for the Auburn Tigers when his team heads south to visit the Florida Gators.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn football coaches are glad that freshman Ben Obomanu is waiting until the seventh game of the 2002 football season to make his debut at Florida Field.

The talented freshman wide receiver from Selma strongly considered the Florida Gators as a possible college choice last year when he was literally recruited by universities from coast to coast.

"Of course, I am excited knowing that I had a chance to go to that school and I chose to go to Auburn," Obomanu tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. " I really just want to get a chance to go down there and play, and really have a good time.

"And, I want to catch some passes and do a lot of things," the freshman adds. "The main thing I want to do is just come off of this loss against Arkansas and really have a good game as far as our team goes and try to pick ourselves back up and put ourselves back into SEC contention."

The play of the wide receivers was probably the only area of the game that Auburn made progress with last week in the 38-17 loss to Arkansas. The wideouts, for the first time this season, totaled more than 100 yards running the football after making their catches.

Ben Obomanu

"We made some improvements catching the ball and running routes and everything, but the coaches are still kind of disappointed in our blocking," Obomanu notes. "They say that we didn't block well enough. And, of course, that is one of the things that they are always going to talk about, knowing that we are basically a running team. That is one of the things that we have got to work on--trying to help Cadillac get more yards and help our running game."

Obomanu and the other Auburn wideouts have been studying game video of the Gator secondary. "I have noticed that, going back from the past years, their defense has kind of changed a little bit," he says. "Their defensive backs may not be as aggressive as Arkansas' DBs and some of the other teams that we have played. So, they are kind of relaxed. I see that we can--the wide receivers--we can really bruise them a little bit if the coaches let us. But, defensive-wise, it is kind of hard to tell what they might come out with. They might try to do some of the same things that Syracuse or Arkansas did. So, we just have got to be on our P's and Q's, and hope that we can figure out the right game plan."

Auburn, which is 2-1 in the SEC, needs to defeat the Gators (4-3 overall, 2-2 SEC) if the Tigers are going to stay near the lead pack in the SEC West. Both teams are trying to get up off the deck after being pounded at home last Saturday.

"I believe the attitudes on Sunday after the game were kind of low a little bit," Obomanu says. "People were kind of disappointed because we were expecting to win the game, of course. But we didn't think some of the things happened in the game were going to happen. The coaches have really been doing a good job of trying to motivate everybody, and trying to pick us up, knowing that our season is not all bad.

"We still can accomplish all our goals," Obomanu adds. "We still can make it back to Atlanta. And we're just trying to think about that, and realize that, and trying to keep ourselves motivated."

Obomanu says he has been surprised at how much negativism there has been from the fans over the loss to the Razorbacks. "Last year, being a recruit and everything, I used to come to the games and hear the fans and everything. But, actually being a player and everything, it is kind of different. I kind of take it a little bit more personal when they are with us one minute and the next minute they are booing us and all of that kind of stuff. But, you know, that is part of football. The fans are going to be with you when you win, and they are going to be against you when you lose. That is one of the things that our team has to learn how to do. So, we are learning slowly but surely, but we are going to be all right."

Obomanu is fourth on the team in receiving yards through six games with 133. Marcel Willis is the leader with 322 yards and is No. 1 in receptions, too, with 23. Obomanu is second in catches with 11.


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