Senior Anxious To Start New Season

Auburn senior wide receiver Rod Smith talks about the new offense and preparing for his last year as a Tiger.

Auburn, Ala.--Every year the prospect of a new season brings excitement in the college football world. Rarely has that excitement been as overwhelming as it has been from Auburn's offensive skill players this preseason. With Tony Franklin's spread system bringing more chances for them to make plays, senior receiver Rod Smith said the guys can hardly wait until they face Louisiana-Monroe in the opener.

"There is a lot of excitement going on right now," Smith said. "Everybody has prepared well. Now everybody is ready to go out and lay in on the line Saturday and see how we do."

A former walk-on turned standout performer for the Tigers, Smith enters his senior season 14th all-time in receiving yards in Auburn history with 1,266 and is 15th in receptions with 84. A good season should easily push him into the Top 10 in both categories before he's done at Auburn, something he expects to happen after working in the offense during the preseason.

"What we did in the bowl game doesn't even compare to what we're going to be able to do in this offense," Smith said. "We've learned so much about this offense from the spring to where we are now, going through two-a-days and now getting ready for Saturday. I think everybody is excited to get out there and show everybody in the country what we're all about."

With a new offense comes growing pains no matter how confident a team is or how well they are clicking in practice. Smith said because of that he feels it's important to get off to a good start for the confidence that brings.

"It's very important to get off to a great start in this offense," Smith said. "Going into the first couple of games we've got a great opportunity to get into the groove and work out all the kinks. There will be some problems in the first game. There are always problems the first game. If we can straighten out the problems the first few games heading into the SEC then we'll be great."

One of the question marks heading into Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff is still who will be the starting quarterback between Kodi Burns and Chris Todd. While Smith said sometimes that becomes a problem for other teams to handle, he doesn't feel like it's had any negative impact on Auburn during the preseason.

"Sometimes it can be a distraction but I think everybody is taking it well," Smith said. "To have two quarterbacks it's like a controversy. Everybody wants to know who is going to be the starter and who the receivers like. I think everybody is handling it well. Whoever is the starting quarterback Saturday we'll be behind that guy 100 percent. Both of the quarterbacks are going to play and we have two good ones.

"That makes it a lot easier just knowing you'll have two guys capable of going in and leading the team," he added. "We've got two great leaders at quarterback. They are both good. They are both smart. They run the offense really well. I'm excited about having two guys that can play."

Going from walk on to the team's number one receiver has been a constant battle for Smith. Now just days away from his final season opener with the Tigers, he said it's hard to believe his time at Auburn is drawing to a close but he's determined to go out on top

"It feels a little strange from when I was a redshirt freshman," Smith said. "Those years went by so fast it's just crazy. I'm going out there for my senior year. I just want to leave it all on the field and have a great year for my teammates."


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