Tiger Tailback Looking To Bounce Back In 2005

Auburn, Ala.--After a frustrating fall in which a shoulder injury cut his 2004 season very short, tailback <A HREF=[PlayerNode:1427133]>Tre Smith</A> says he ready to show what he can do.

With last year's star running back duo of Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams headed to the National Football League, Smith is a strong candidate to step up and win a starting job this season.

"I am healed and I am 100 percent," Smith says with a smile. "I am ready to go. I feel great and I am probably in the best shape of my life working out with Coach Yox (strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall).

"I am 201 pounds now," Smith says. "My goal by May is to get to 205. I have gotten faster."

Tre Smith works against defensive back Patrick Lee in a special teams drill during Wednesday's practice.

Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville says he is excited about Smith's possibilities for his redshirt junior season. "Tre is one of those quiet guys," the coach says. "He reminds me so much of Carnell. The first three years Carnell was here, he never said a word. Now Tre has been here three years and I bet he hasn't said two or three words.

"Tre is just a hard worker," Tuberville adds. "He loves football. The players respect him for what he does, not only in practice, but in the weight room, too. I think with Tre not playing much this past year it has really got him focused on what he is doing. He is quicker, faster and a little bigger than he was."

Smith was able to play in just three games last year. He ran the ball two times for 36 yards and returned four punts for 30 yards.

For his career, Smith has rushed 118 times for 631 yards, an average of 5.3 per carry with nine touchdowns.

Smith and the Tigers have two practice days under their belts and will put on the pads for the first time on Thursday. Saturday at 10 a.m. the team will have its first spring scrimmage.

"On offense we already starting ahead of where we were last year (spring) because Coach (Al) Borges has been here a year and most of us already know the offense," Smith says. "There is not too much teaching of basic, beginner stuff like there was last year at the start of spring practice."

Smith will be competing for a starting job this year with Kenny Irons, Carl Stewart and Brad Lester. Smith says it won't be easy to win a starting job with the competition at tailback, even with the Cadillac and Brown gone. "We still have a bunch in and we can all play," he says. "I guess the more the merrier."

Smith says he has been keeping up with how Brown and Williams performed at the NFL combine and he is rooting for his former teammates to do well at the next level. "Watching them play, it is like watching my brothers, guys I grew up with," he says. "It is exciting."

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