Zachery Enjoying New Role As Playmaker

Auburn wide receiver Terrell Zachery talks about his play this season and getting the offense back on track Saturday in the win over Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Entering the 2009 season Auburn junior wide receiver Terrell Zachery had been a missing man. Playing in 13 games his first two years, including all 12 last season, the Wadley native had just two catches for 24 yards.

What made those numbers even more surprising was that the Tigers were looking for playmakers at the position and that's what Zachery has been his entire life. The all-time leading receiver in Alabama high school history, the Wadley native scored 53 receiving touchdowns in high school on 90 catches with over 4,600 yards.

It wasn't only surprising to Zachery, but to his teammates as well. Senior running back Ben Tate said the players always wondered why Zachery didn't get his opportunity before this season.

"We've been knowing that T-Zach could do things, but when you're a player you can't voice your opinions because it doesn't matter to the coaches," Tate said. "I bet you could ask a bunch of guys on the team since T-Zach has been here, we all know he could play. We asked him if he was doing wrong or this or that, but you can't really get into that. We all knew he could play. He just needed his opportunity."

That came when Coach Gene Chizik and the new coaching staff came on board the first thing that Trooper Taylor did was tell Zachery he wanted him to be smaller and quicker on the perimeter. That change in body style as well as a change in the offense has meant big things for the now speedy receiver.

This season he has 22 receptions for 437 yards (an average of 19.9 yards per catch) and has four touchdowns. Going from not being used at all to now being a key member of the receiving corps, Zachery said it has been a fun transition for him in 2009.

"It feels good to have confidence in me to throw the ball up and see if I can make some big plays," Zachery said. "That feels real good."

At no point was that made any clearer than on Saturday as quarterback Chris Todd faced a third and two from Auburn's 18-yard line in the second quarter. Looking for something to spark the offense, coordinator Gus Malzahn decided to take a shot down the field to Zachery and he delivered with an acrobatic catch for 42 yards.

That play sparked the offense as the Tigers covered the final 40 yards in just two plays for a touchdown and a 10-7 lead. From that point forward the offense was in gear, something Zachery said built from having some success.

"We just came out this week knowing we had to make plays on the outside," Zachery said. "That's how we were going to get the tempo set. That's what we did.

We just kept the momentum going on offense and the defense was making plays too," Zachery added. "Everything was going good."

The offense picked things up from there as the Tigers finished with 401 yards of offense in the victory. It was the first time over 400 yards for Auburn since grinding out 459 against Tennessee in a 26-22 win.

Several times during the game players would make a play and point to an imaginary watch on the wrists. Zachery said the offensive players made up their mind that it was time to make plays and once that happened everything just fell into place.

"It's time to step up and do what we've got to do," Zachery said. "We just needed some momentum back on offense. That's all we needed."

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