Smith: New Attitude For Franklin And Offense

Senior wide receiver Rod Smith talks about Tuesday's practice and seeing a different side of coordinator Tony Franklin.

Auburn, Ala.--Saturday night following Auburn's 14-13 loss to Vanderbilt on the road coach Tommy Tuberville said there were going to be some major changes on offense for the Tigers heading into the Arkansas game. Tuesday senior wide receiver Rod Smith says he saw some very different things when the Tigers hit the practice field to get ready for the Razorbacks.

"There is a lot that has changed," Smith says. "Coach (Tony) Franklin, just the tempo and the way we practiced was very hard today. The coaches were very upbeat about everything. Every little thing that you did wrong they were on you, especially coach Franklin.

"He had a meeting with us before we went out to practice," he adds. "He told us that the old guy is back. Whoever he was at Troy he says he's back. I guess we can expect different from him. I can tell just the intensity he had at practice today was great."

A stickler for doing everything right, Franklin was very instrumental in all parts of the offense when the Tigers prepared for Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He was also that way during spring practice as the offense really got a full dose of his spread attack. Smith says he sees that coach once again this week in practice even down to stopping the play to show a wide receiver how to run a route correctly.

"It was a different coach I saw out there today," Smith says. "If you didn't run a route he was right there on you and in your face telling you how to run the route. He ran the route for us. It was just a different guy I saw out there today with the intensity from all the coaches. It was on another level today.

"I thought I would see that," he adds about the offense. "As far as the intensity I didn't think it was going to be like that. They definitely surprised us. Coach Franklin, he surprised me the way everything played out. It's just a good thing we needed. We've been down for the last few days and that definitely got everybody's attention today that they need to be on their P's and Q's."

Another change in Tuesday's practice from Franklin was his position during practice. Normally on the sidelines while the offense runs the plays and gets the call from him, Smith says he was right in the middle of the action on this day.

"Coach Franklin was actually out there on the field," Smith says. "He wasn't on the sidelines calling the plays. He was out there on the field correcting everything we did today. He did it with everybody but moreso with the receivers. We need to be sharper on our routes. As far as the running backs he was on them too telling them to finish the play. If you get the ball run 20 yards up field as fast as you can. If you close then score. The intensity was great today. The guys are getting back focused and getting ready for Arkansas Saturday."

When Franklin arrived at Auburn last December he preached tempo and perfection. Those are two things the Tigers haven't been able to come close to achieving in the first six games of the 2008 season but Smith says he thinks Franklin is stopping at nothing to get that going right away.

"Definitely we're going a lot faster," Smith says. "It was very tiring today just to go out to practice and have that kind of tempo. There was definitely a lot more yelling. The coaches are being more demanding. They are expecting a lot more out of us. That's a good thing.

"It felt like we were in two-a-days all over again," he adds. "It's a good thing. I definitely think we need that as a team to light a fire under us. Something needs to be done to get this offense and the whole team going in the right direction. Something has to be done and I think the coaches are doing a great job of doing that."

As the Tigers get ready to face Arkansas many feel that the season is already lost with losses to LSU and Vanderbilt but Smith says that's not the thoughts of the team at all. With half a season remaining he notes there is plenty of time to right the ship.

"I feel like we're still a good team," Smith says. "We can be a great team if we work on it and keep working hard in practice like we are right now. If we do what we're doing and it carries over to the field there is no doubt in my mind we can be a great football team.

"Coach (Tommy) Tuberville reminded us today that LSU lost two games last year and went to the national championship and why can't that happen for us. That has to be our mindset right now. We have to finish the season strong and do great things in practice. That will carry over to the game on Saturday."

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