Junior RB Gives His Take On Auburn Offense

Junior running back Ben Tate talks about Auburn's offense and his role and also gives his opinion on the quarterback race.

Auburn, Ala.--When Auburn's Tommy Tuberville made the decision before the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Clemson to hire Tony Franklin and employ the spread offense it sent shockwaves through the college football world. It didn't stop there as it also sent shockwaves through his own team and especially among the running backs.

Junior Ben Tate said the first thought that came to his mind was what is Coach Tuberville doing. He said that after having a chance to see how the running backs are used in Franklin's version of the spread, he thinks big things are coming for the Auburn offense in 2008.

"This offense is going to be fun for everybody and not just the wide receivers," Tate said. "It's for the running backs too. We're going to get to showcase our talent of catching the ball out of the backfield as well as showing what we can do in open space. There are going to be a lot more opportunities to have longer runs now. You want the big home run. That's what is going to happen in this offense."

Not the perceived perfect back for the spread offense at 5-11, 215, Tate has been a productive part of Auburn's power running game his first two seasons on the Plains. He said that while he may not seem to be a fit in the new offense, end the end it's all about making plays and he thinks that's something he can do.

"If you're a football player you're a football player no matter what offense you're in," Tate said. "I have definitely heard people say ‘are you scared because you're not a spread offense guy?'. What is a spread offense guy? Explain that to me.

"You've just got to be a ball player," he added. "No matter what position you play, once you get the ball in your hands you've got to make plays. That's what I'm going to try to do."

In two years Tate has amassed 1,295 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He also added 16 receptions in 2007 as well to show off his hands. Tate said this season he'll do whatever it takes to help the team toward its goal of playing for it all.

"My role is going to be whatever I can do to help the team win," Tate said. "If that is catching 10 balls out of the backfield or getting 10 carries or staying in there blocking the whole time that's what I'm going to do. Whatever it takes for us to get to the national championship."

Offensively the preseason has been one of big plays at times and inconsistency at others. In both scrimmages the offense has started slow, picked it up in the middle and then ran out of a little steam to close things out. Tate said right now there are still some things to polish up, but overall he feels good about their progress heading into the Louisiana-Monroe game.

"I think we're still coming together," Tate said. "There still might be some wrinkles going into the first game but overall I think we're going to be ready. I'm predicting we put up a nice amount of points."

The only question at remains is who will be Auburn's starting quarterback to lead the team to those points. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin remains steadfast in his thoughts that both Kodi Burns and Chris Todd will play this season and neither has distanced himself enough to be named the starter just five days before the season opener. Never one to be shy, Tate said he's got a feeling who the starter should be but in the end it doesn't matter as long as the Tigers deliver as a team.

"I think the best person for the offense, that is who is going to play," Tate said. "I guess everybody has their own opinions on it. I'm not really going to say mine. I think everybody pretty much can see who should be the guy out there. It doesn't really matter. Our team goal is to win a national championship and it doesn't matter who is back there doing it."

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