Auburn, Ala.--When Tim Hawthorne was signed out of Homewood High last year he was thought of as a player that could be the big-play threat Auburn had been lacking at the position. In his first spring scrimmage ever as a Tiger, Hawthorne caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Neil Caudle to give a glimpse of what Auburn fans are hoping is a trend beginning next fall.
"The play was double-go so I had a go-route automatically," Hawthorne says. "It was just a throw-it-up situation and I had to make a play on it. I made a pretty good catch on the ball.
"We rarely got a chance to do that last year," Hawthorne adds. "We want to stretch the field a lot and stretch the defense. That opens up more stuff in zone coverage and sit-down routes and things across the middle. We definitely want to throw the ball deep. Coach (Al) Borges is emphasizing the deep ball. We've got to make some plays."
Tim Hawthorne is congratulated by Danny Perry after his touchdown catch on Saturday.
Other than Hawthorne and the play of starter Rodgeriqus Smith, it wasn't a great day for Auburn's wide receivers in general. Redshirt freshman Terrell Zachery and James Swinton both had nice plays but for the most part much of Auburn's offensive output came from the running game. Hawthorne says that Saturday's scrimmage was a good first effort for the wide receivers but they've got to do a better job in the final 10 days of spring practice.
"It went pretty good but it can go even better," Hawthorne says. "Guys are really getting their feet wet. This is my first spring practice so I'm still learning the system. I have a good grasp of it now. A lot of young guys just need to go out and do what we do best, which is make plays. We're learning."
After going through his first fall as primarily a scout team player, Hawthorne got his first taste of a spring scrimmage on Saturday and says that it was fun to get back into a game-type atmosphere once again. With another scrimmage set for this coming Saturday and the A-Day game on March 17, Hawthorne says everyone is just looking forward to showing what they can before the 15 days are done.
"There was a lot of hitting and things have been slowly progressing to the intensity we had in the scrimmage," Hawthorne says. "Everybody is ready every time we scrimmage on Saturdays. Everybody is ready to contribute to the season as best we can."