July 25, 2007

Auburn needs more production from WR's

Career receptions leader Courtney Taylor is off to the NFL but Auburn still returns a deep and talented receiving corps that needs to step up its production in 2007.

"I feel good about the group as a whole," said wide receivers coach Greg Knox. "We've got some veterans and some young guys and the competition is going to be tight.

"It's a good situation to be in but we still have a lot of development to do."

AU's receivers scored just seven TD's last year with junior Rod Smith accounting for four. After averaging 17.4 yards on 26 receptions as a sophomore, the former walk-on enters fall drills as the Tigers' go-to receiver.

"After the season he had last year, which was a tremendous one, we're excited about the possibility of Rod being a big-time player for us," said Knox.

Smith will start at the 'X' receiver position while the 'Z' receiver position remains up for grabs. Sophomore Montez Billings edged in front of returning starter Prechae Rodriguez in the spring and the two will battle it out again this fall.

"Right now, those two will split every series unless one of them steps up and totally grabs the position," said Knox. "Montez had a good game against Alabama. He played hard and physical. I think that game carried over to the spring. He's got a lot of room for improvement but he's getting better.

"It's that time for him. This is the time we recruited him for, when Courtney stepped out the door, he would be ready to step in. I think he's ready for that challenge."

Rodriguez played in 12 games last season finishing third on the team with 14 receptions. His 22-yard TD reception against Alabama was a highlight but Knox would like to see more consistency from the senior.

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