Sophomore Looking for More Productive Season

Speedy Onterio McCalebb talks about his comeback from an injury, spring training and his hopes for the 2010 Auburn football team's offense.

Auburn, Ala.--After making a big early splash running the football for the Auburn Tigers last year, Onterio McCalebb was limited through the rest of the season with an injury that just wouldn't go away.

With the Tigers into their second week of spring practice, McCalebb is bigger, stronger and healthier as he prepares for his second season of college football.

"My ankle bothered me last season, but now everything is good," the tailback tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I am 100 percent. I am doing very well."

In Auburn's opening game last season vs. Louisiana Tech, he carried the football 22 times for 148 yards and a touchdown. In the SEC opener a week later, he gained 114 yards on 16 carries and scored on a touchdown run from 48 yards out.

However, after an injury in game four vs. Ball State, his production dropped dramatically. He missed two games (Ole Miss and Furman) trying to get well for the stretch run. Although he played vs. Georgia, Alabama and Furman, he was missing the quickness that caused defenders problems earlier in the season.

McCalebb says he is enjoying his time back on the football field this spring with his ankle finally healed. "It is a lot of fun to have my speed back," he says with a smile. "I make the defense mad when I am out there in practice because they can't catch me. I am so happy to be back out there full speed."

Another difference from the end of the season is the added muscle and weight he picked up in winter strength and conditioning drills. "I weigh 175 pounds now and when I walk around campus I feel like a big man now that I have got a little weight on me," he says. "I played at 165 last year."

The sophomore-to-be will be able to feel like a bigger man on campus if he can play all season throughout 2010 like he did to start 2009. The Auburn offense made huge improvements last year and despite losing star tailback Ben Tate and starting quarterback Chris Todd to graduation, McCalebb says he likes the team's potential on his side of the ball.

"We can be awesome on offense this year," McCalebb says. "We know when the season starts we will have a lot of doubters, but we don't worry about that. We just go out there and play hard and do we have to do."

McCalebb and the Tigers, who are in their second week of spring practice, will play their annual spring A-Day Game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 17th.


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