Auburn, Ala.--One of the positions that Auburn's coaches were looking for improvement out of during spring practice was at wide receiver where the Tigers got very little production out of the players behind Courtney Taylor
and Rodgeriqus Smith
in 2006. With Smith back this year, the search has been on to find a group of receivers to complement him next season.
A player who stepped up his game in the spring was junior Robert Dunn. Despite struggling early with a strained hamstring, Dunn finished on a high note with perhaps his best day ever as a Tiger with four catches for 108 yards in Wednesday's half-scrimmage, the final practice of the spring. He says that it feels good to get back on the field and play well after battling to get back following his injury.
"I felt good," Dunn says. "The coaches just told me to get back but don't rush myself. I just stayed in treatment and stretched myself to get back healthy. I got healthy for my first scrimmage but didn't push myself and didn't do a whole lot. This time I came out and tried to do a whole lot more than I did in my first scrimmage. The ball just seemed like it fell in my hands like every other play. I was just there to make the play I guess."
Dunn was just one of a large group of offensive players that finished out their spring practice with a very good day on Wednesday. Running backs Mario Fannin and Tristan Davis both put up good numbers as did quarterback Brandon Cox. Dunn says it was big for the offense to finish strong heading into the summer.
"It was real important," Dunn says. "We had a lot of questions at a lot of positions and guys just came out on point. Everybody was in synch. The offensive line was in synch. The quarterbacks were in synch with the receivers and the running backs were hitting the holes. Everybody came out and worked hard this whole spring and it paid off in the end."
Dunn makes the grab in traffic during Wednesday's half-scrimmage.
While Dunn and the receivers were looking to prove themselves capable of getting the job done, Cox set out this spring to show that his performance in 2006 was an aberration. A very good player as a sophomore, Cox battled ankle and knee injuries and wasn't 100 percent last year for much of the season. Dunn says now you can see the real quarterback and it's huge for the offense to have Cox back healthy and playing well.
"It is a big difference," Dunn says. "I'm so glad he's healthy and I'm sure the rest of the receivers are glad he's healthy. I know he's glad he's healthy. We joke all the time about last year and him being hurt all the time. This year he's got a point to prove and I told him I was going to be his money maker out there."
With spring behind them, Dunn says the Tigers and in particular the offense are anxious to get to work this summer and improve before two-a-days begin in August. After struggling early in the spring to get anything done against their defensive counterparts, Dunn says that heading into the next four months off two good scrimmages to end the spring makes for a good feeling for the offense.
"That was great," Dunn says. "We're out on a good note. The coaches are confident in us. I don't feel like there is a better way we could have gone out. It was just a great end to the whole spring.
"I feel like we have made a big improvement but we still have a long way to go," Dunn adds. "That's just inside Auburn football. We know our defense. Now we have to expect the unexpected when the season starts and we play the LSU's and the Georgia's. We just have to keep working and keep striving to be better than we are right now."
Auburn junior receiver Robert Dunn talks about the offensive production in the spring and closing out strong.