February 22, 2008

New look for Auburn TE's and slot receivers

Auburn's new spread offense brings a number of changes, especially for coach Steve Ensminger. The sixth-year assistant has expanded his duties from tight ends to inside receivers coach and added about five more players to his group.

"I'm excited about it," said Ensminger. "I've enjoyed coaching tight ends and will still be coaching tight ends but it puts a new position on there and a few more people to coach.

"We're moving some athletes in there. With the offensive change I think it's an important position for us. You look back at the bowl game, I think the inside receivers caught 13 passes."

The inside receivers are called the 'H' and 'Y' in Auburn's system. The 'Y' includes AU's tight ends plus Tim Hawthorne. The 'H' includes a group of receivers and running backs.

"I think the H position is a very athletic position. That position has to do it all," said Ensminger. "We're going to throw screens to them. They're going to have to be able to take a 5-yard gain and make it a 10-yard gain. They're going to have to stretch the field vertically. They're going to have to take the linebacker 1-on-1 on intermediate routes and they're going to have to block for the run."

Working at the 'H' this spring will be Mario Fannin, who also plays running back, along with Chris Slaughter and Terrell Zachery.

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