Billings Back To Work But Unsure Of Status

Wide receiver Montez Billings talks about his preseason and sitting out spring practice.

Auburn, Ala.--It's no secret that Auburn is looking for playmakers to step up at the wide receiver position in 2009. Because of that the door is wide open and one player looking to step through it is senior Montez Billings.

Sitting out the entire spring because of academic questions, Billings is back on the field this preseason and has looked good despite trying to catch up on learning a new offense under the direction of Gus Malzahn. He said so far things are going well for him.

"It's going pretty good," Billings said. "I'm still kind of rusty. I have just been trying to go through my techniques and fundamentals trying to get better.

"Actually things are pretty good," he added. "I was still in the playbook in the spring so I pretty much knew everything."

Auburn's active receptions leader with 55 for 645 yards and one touchdown heading into the season, Billings has averaged just 11.7 yards per catch for his career. Because of that and a lack of production across the board, Coach Trooper Taylor has given early looks at several freshmen including DeAngelo Benton and Emory Blake. Billings said he knows he and the older guys have to step it up and they're using that to drive themselves.

"It's a lot of motivation," Billings said. "Especially during two-a-days everybody has to work hard because they're working for a starting position. If you don't work hard you're not going to play. There is motivation out there either way."

After playing for Greg Knox his entire career, Billings enters the season with a new position coach for the first time. Known as a players' coach from his stops at Tennessee and Oklahoma State, Taylor has already made an impression on Billings.

"He wants us to do everything perfect," Billings said. "Especially the little things. He focuses on little things a whole bunch. He emphasizes everything. He's trying to get us right."

One of the questions surrounding Billings is his availability. Sitting out spring because of academic concerns, the Pelham native said he's still not sure how things stand heading into his senior year and called his situation "ongoing"

"I just had some academic issues," Billings noted. "I just graduated in May so everything should be alright. Me and Coach (Gene Chizik) haven't discussed things (his status) yet. I'm just out there trying to start.

"I'm just not sure right now," he added. "Me and the coaches haven't discussed anything. I'm just working hard and trying to get a starting position."

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