Trott Hoping for Bounce Back Senior Season

Senior tight end Tommy Trott talks about recovering from a knee injury and the new Auburn offense for 2009.

Auburn, Ala.--Last year was a tough one for tight end Tommy Trott.

Expected to be a big part of what the Tigers hoped would be a dynamic offense, instead the junior caught just 20 passes for 201 yards without a touchdown. To top it off, he injured a knee late in the season and was forced to undergo surgery after his redshirt junior season was done.

Now back running around and getting stronger, Trott says he's anxious to get back on the field and get back into action for the Tigers in his senior season.

"It's going pretty well," Trott says. "I'm doing squats and power cleans in the weight room. They're letting me get back in there and get some strength back in the quad and the hamstring.

"The thing we're really working on now is I've got to get all of my range of motion back," he says. "I can bend it all the way back, but for some reason I can't straighten it out. That's something I have to work on."

Trott will also have to work on learning a new offense once again as first-year AU head coach Gene Chizik brought on Gus Malzahn to install his hurry up/no huddle offense for the Tigers. While Trott wasn't able to go through the spring and take contact, he says his time studying and paying attention at the practices should serve him well when the Tigers take the field for two-a-days in August.

"It was definitely good that I got out there and watched," Trott says. "We've got a new offense in and they allowed me a chance to sit on the sidelines and learn it as opposed to being in the training room or on muscle beach where I don't see anything. I got to take the mental reps in the film room and out there on the field.

"I thought that was very important because I plan on, when I'm healthy, stepping out there and knowing the entire offense and being able to run it like I went through spring practice. I'm pretty confident that I know the majority of what we've installed as our offense to this point."

Last season in Auburn's spread offense, Trott found himself as a hybrid player who saw some action as an H-back/tight end/slot receiver. He says this year he thinks his role will be different under Malzahn, but he still hopes to be a versatile player for the Tigers in 2009.

Trott runs a drill in spring training with receivers coach Trooper Taylor. Trott was able to participate in non-contact portions of practice this spring.

"As of right now I'm probably not playing that H-Back role," Trott says. "They've got Mario Fannin, Gabe McKenzie and I think Phillip Lutzenkirchen is going to come in and play a little of that H-Back role as well. I'm looking at more of the Y position that Darvin Adams played a lot of in the spring. When we go to a true tight end hopefully that will be me as well.

"We haven't really installed a lot of true tight end packages, but Coach Malzahn says we're going to run about 25 or 30 percent true tight end stuff. I would like to have the ability to bring to the table a guy that could have my hand on the ground and the next play spread out and contribute to the passing game as a wide receiver. You're able to do that in this offense because of the different formations we can throw at you."

Having the ability to line up at multiple positions is something that Trott says is exciting to him because it brings back old memories of dominating opponents at Trinity Presbyterian in Montgomery. He says another thing that has eager for his senior season is the way the Tigers will play football this year under Malzahn.

"It's definitely exciting," Trott says. "Last year I had the chance to play a good bit of slot, but I obviously didn't have the year I wanted and the team didn't have the year we wanted. This year I'll have a chance to play some slot and split out.

"Another thing that is exciting is that a big part of our game in high school was the vertical game," he adds. "We threw a lot of fades and a lot of seam routes down the field. Coach Malzahn says we're going to take eight shots down the field. Even if we're not completing them it gives the defense something to think about. It backs the safeties off the ball to help run the ball better."

Before the Tigers can get back on the field this fall though, they'll spend plenty of time this summer working on timing and technique during afternoon workout sessions. Trott says the biggest summer of his career is the last one because of the changes on offense and what the requires for the players.

"It's huge and the guys really understand that," Trott says. "This year is more important than the other years because it's such a timing and precision offense. You're running a post route 10 yards and planting your right foot and the ball is going to be there. It's so much more about timing and building a chemistry with the quarterback in this offense."

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