Jordan Aumiller was a fourth-team freshman All-America pick by one publication last season and named to the all-Southeastern Conference freshman team by the league's coaches when he made 18 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown against national champion Auburn.
The Boyle County product was Kentucky's starting tight end against Western Kentucky in the season-opening game this year, but since then he's barely played. He does not have a catch this season and UK's tight ends have only a combined eight catches in six games going into the Jacksonsville State game Oct. 22. Here's what Aumiller had to say about his season after practice Tuesday.
Question: What has been going on with the team and its offensive struggles?
Aumiller: "Everybody just has to execute and do their jobs. It just comes down to that if we want to play better."
Question: What happened to cause you to go from starting the opening game to barely getting to play now?
Aumiller: "I didn't play very well the first game and then Nick (Melillo) and Tyler (Robinson) are playing well, so there is no reason to take them out when they are playing well. AK (Anthony Kendrick), Ronnie (Shields) Gabe (Correll) and I are just playing our roles and playing hard and giving the defense a good look (in practice).
Question: Was it a lack of blocking or something specific that cost you a chance to play after that opening game against Western Kentucky?
Aumiller: "No, I just didn't play up to my level that I should.?If you don't, then you don't get to play."
Question: How frustrating has that been?
Aumiller: "It is real frustrating. Just imagine anybody playing the whole year pretty much (like I did here last year), starting a game and then not getting to play any more. It's tough, but you only learn from it."
Question: Are you healthy? Are there are lingering shoulder issues from last season?
Aumiller: "No, I am doing fine. I just have to play better. Everything just adds up. I was hurt last year and not playing good, but was still playing. Now I am healthy, was not playing good and I?am not playing. It is a little bit different situation, but ..."
Question: Is this the first time you have had to deal with not playing?
Aumiller: "No, definitely not. It is just something to learn from. It is humbling. I can definitely relate to other people who have been through this. You just have to go with the flow."
Question: Where does that flow take you now and what can you do to get back on the field?
Aumiller: "Just keep working hard in practice like I?have been and try to prove to (tight ends) coach (Greg) Nord that I?can play. I am only a backup on a few special teams things, so I want to play. The way we are playing eats at everybody, especially me when I was out there at the start of the year and last year and now I?feel like I can't do anything to help out. You just have to work hard in practice and get better."
Question: Why have the tight ends not been a bigger part of the passing game this year?
Aumiller: "I am not for sure. None of us really know. We just try to do our roles."
Question: Is it fair to assume all the tight ends thought the position would be a bigger part of the offense?
Aumiller: "I definitely thought so. We were really not even part of it last year, but we were making more receptions. Making first downs on third-down plays and stuff like that. We are just trying to do what we can."
Question: What do you do to try and keep your spirits up while you are not getting a chance to play?
Aumiller: "Just try to have fun with the guys and work hard and make practice fun. The coaches are going to get on us. You just have to take it in and try not to let them make you mad or whatever. Everybody has their own individual position and then the offense comes together. You just have to try and be a team."
Question: Have you lost confidence in your ability or do you still believe if given the chance that you can make plays?
Aumiller: "I know I can catch balls. I know I can make plays and stuff. It's just that in practice you have to get the opportunities to.?I think all of us tight ends can make plays. Nick can. Tyler can. Everybody on the team can make plays. You just have to execute and do it if you get a chance to do it."