Two Touchdown Tate Happy to Be Back

Tiger tailback Ben Tate discusses his play in Auburn's spring football game.

Auburn, Ala.--After missing most of the spring with a hamstring injury, and then being picked on a bit about his performance in his first practice back on Tuesday by offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, Ben Tate says he was just ready to get out and make the most of his carries on A-Day.

"I am still not feeling 100 percent, but I was just going out there and trying to have fun with the little bit of time that I was getting to play," Tate explains. "And that is what I did today, I went out there and had fun, talked a little trash to the defense, scored a couple of touchdowns and did a little celebrating--something I will get yelled at for later, but it doesn't really matter. I am out there to have fun."

The talented back only carried the ball five times for 22 yards in the Tigers' annual spring scrimmage, but he made the most of them by outracing the defense to the corner on sweeps two times for touchdowns in the first half.

Despite looking very quick and powerful on Saturday, Tate explains that there is still an extra gear left in his system that he can't quite reach just yet.

"My hamstring is still bothering me a little bit," he notes. "On my second touchdown run I tried to kick it a little bit, and I still felt it a little bit so I had to slow down, but I think I am probably around 80-90 percent. I am not too far away."

Ben Tate is shown in action on Saturday.

Even with Tate's limited work this spring in Auburn's new spread offense, the tailback says that he feels like it is a system that is going to be a big positive for the Tigers' backs this fall. "The offense is something that we have got to get used to, it is something different, and coming with that there are a lot of growing pains," he explains. "But, I think once we get all of the wrinkles out it will be something good for us."

He also adds that he believes his size and versatility are attributes that will really help him excel in Franklin's offense.

"People always want to stereotype a certain player in a certain offense, but I don't think that is so true," he says about smaller backs being more common in spread offenses. "If you have got a big guy that can run, that can catch the ball, that can still make moves and make people miss in the open field then that is who you should go with.

"Everybody thinks that I am a bruiser, and I am, but I can do more than that, too," Tate continues. "I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can run and catch swing passes, and I can get in the open field and make people miss. I think this offense is going to allow me to do it and show that I can do it."

With the Tigers' passing game getting the majority of the work during A-Day and throughout the spring, the talented runner says he wanted to make a statement on Saturday that a change in offensive philosophy would not mean a change in mentality or production for the Auburn tailbacks.

"I just wanted to go out here and show the fans that the running back group is the number one running back group in the country and they won't have anything to worry about when it comes to running the ball," Tate says with a smile.

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