Hawthorne: Passing Game Coming Around

Wide receiver Tim Hawthorne talks about the passing game and what he's seen out of Kodi Burns.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking for something to build on offensively heading into the game against Ole Miss last weekend, the Auburn Tigers knew they would have to take advantage of some opportunities in the passing game to have success. While that happened to the tune of 319 yards by quarterback Kodi Burns, it didn't translate into points on the scoreboard.

Still some positives came out of the performance. Burns showed he could throw the ball effectively and eat up chunks of yardage. Auburn's receivers also showed the ability to get down the field and make plays. Sophomore Tim Hawthorne says for him he saw some things to like offensively as the Tigers get ready to face UT-Martin.

"I think we made a big improvement in the passing game for the simple fact that we threw the ball more than we ever have," Hawthorne says. "I think we threw it like 43 times. We made some big plays on the perimeter. We knew going into the week that's what we would have to do against Ole Miss. The receivers and running backs were going to get shots in the passing game. That's what we had to do to come out on top and I think we did it for the most part."

While Auburn threw the ball well at times, three interceptions by Burns were the undoing of the Tigers' chances against the Rebels. Two of the interceptions came as Auburn was driving for possible scores in Ole Miss territory. Hawthorne says Burns took it hard, but that's what you expect from someone that wants to win.

"It's just the competitive nature of him," Hawthorne says. "That's with all of us. We're such competitors. We're our own biggest critics. That's just Kodi Burns criticizing himself for throwing three interceptions. It's growing pains. You're not going to play every game perfect. He knows that and we know that. What you try to do is eliminate that as much as you can. Unfortunately we weren't able to do that."

One of the biggest things going on offense right now is having the consistency of one quarterback in the game at all times. For the first half of the season it was musical quarterbacks with Chris Todd getting the majority of the snaps. Hawthorne says now they can focus on playing with an improving and more confident Burns every play of the game after the tough early season for the sophomore.

"I saw a lot of maturity from Kodi," Hawthorne says. "He has been through everything just like us with the quarterback situation and with the firing of the coordinator. I think he showed a lot of character. He had faith in all of us to make plays. Right there alone is a big plus from his side to us."

Against Ole Miss Hawthorne had a big day with three catches for 60 yards. Those numbers actually brought his yards per catch down though as for the season he's caught seven balls for an astounding 190 yards. Hawthorne wasn't the only big play threat for the Tigers though as fellow sophomore Chris Slaughter had a huge game with eight catches for 131 yards. That didn't come as a surprise to anyone though says Hawthorne.

"It was bound to happen that he would have a breakout game like that," Hawthorne says. "It just so happened that one guy went down (Rod) and he stepped up like he was supposed to. He had a career night."

Struggling at 4-5 on the season, Auburn steps out of conference action to face FCS team UT-Martin for homecoming on Saturday looking to gain some confidence heading into the final two games of the regular season against Georgia and Alabama. Hawthorne says no matter the opponent getting a victory would be huge for the Tigers this week.

"Just to give us that winning taste in our mouth after a four-game losing streak," Hawthorne says. "Right now it has been a while since we walked off the field knowing we got a win. A win against anybody would get us back on the right track and hopefully propel us for the remainder of the season. We know we've got three games left and if we take care of business Saturday that would give us great motivation for the remaining two."

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