Trooper Talks Wide Receivers

Wide receiver Coach Trooper Taylor talks about the wide receiver position and which young guys have caught his eye.

Auburn, Ala.--The wide receiver position is one where young guys are expected to make an immediate impact for the Auburn Tigers in 2009. Tuesday night the team held its first scrimmage of the preseason at Jordan-Hare Stadium and it was a chance for those young guys to take a step forward. Coach Trooper Taylor said that's exactly what they did.

"I was really excited about the young guys," Taylor said. "I'm talking about Emory Blake and Gulley (Anthony Gulley) and Travante Stallworth and Benton (DeAngelo Benton). They've really showed some maturity. All three of the those guys will help us this year at wide receiver. They got a short window to show what they could do and they took it to heart."

While Taylor doesn't count Benton among the young guys, joking that he's old enough to receive Social Security, right now the four are among a group of receivers that Taylor said he'll go into the season with because of what they've shown him during the first week of practice.

"It will be tough to redshirt those freshman, it really will," Taylor said. "We may look at redshirting some of the older guys that haven't redshirted yet and give them another year. It has been a surprise that they are as far along as they are, especially with the new terminology.

"They understand alignment and assignment and then they play with great effort," he added. "That makes a big difference."

The possibility of playing four true freshman at one position is something that Taylor said he's never done before but right now it's a very real possibility in 2009.

"I've never played four true freshmen," Taylor said. "I think the way these guys have been conscientious and what they did this summer (has helped). I don't have to teach them the x and o parts. I can teach them the fundamentals right now. They already know when I say what formation they're already on the same terminology."

Taylor wouldn't go into detail about which guys might be considered for a redshirt at wide receiver among the older guys but only Darvin Adams and Derek Winter haven't already redshirted among the players already on campus.

"I'll touch more on that when the time comes," Taylor said. "What I don't want to do is take a guy's spirit away where he doesn't compete and try to continue to get in that window. Nothing is written in stone. We still have a long time until that first ballgame. I'm going to keep putting the guys out there that keep competing. Hopefully he'll push those other guys."

A player that hasn't gotten a lot of talk this preseason is sophomore Quindarius Carr. Expected to be a key player for the Tigers at the receiver position, Taylor said his versatility is his strong suit at the moment.

"The thing that keeps Q on the field is that he can play every position," Taylor said. "He understands that. That's what is keeping him on the field. If it were just one spot then one of them would probably pass him up. Because he can do so many things and I can put him in a position and he knows what to do and has a chance to make a play because of his size. That gives him an advantage over a smaller guy."

While Benton and Blake have gotten much of the early attention and Gulley added to that mix with a big reverse Tuesday night, Stallworth has been the forgotten man among the group but Taylor said not to sleep on the former high school quarterback.

"The way he handles things, when you say something in a meeting he writes a note about everything," Taylor said. "He's meticulous about his alignment. I'll bet he's out there right now after practice getting his own deal done. He can line up at so many places.

"He can play quarterback, he can play wide receiver, he can run reverses. He can do so many things and that's what he brings to the table. He made some guys miss that looked like they couldn't tackle him in a phone booth. He's got that kind of quickness."

One of the biggest reasons for the younger guys being able to play so soon has been their willingness to learn the playbook and get as ready as possible for practice each day. Taylor said that's something he's noticed about the entire team during preseason camp and that has him excited about the future.

"I walk into the dining hall and you see football players, in a group, talking about the plays," Taylor said. "On offense and defense. That's very impressive to me. I've never been anywhere, when they're eating especially the big guys, they're eating. These kids are hungry to win. That's impressive."

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