In the case of redshirt freshman tight end Cooper Wallace, the elation of catching his first touchdown pass as an Auburn Tiger turned into one of those experiences. "The second I got up, before I had time to celebrate Robert Johnson came over and basically tackled me," Wallace explains. "So, I was trying not to fall down and look stupid in front of everybody."
However, Wallace, who finished the day with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, does note that after looking back on the touchdown he really enjoyed it. "It felt good. That was my first catch, too, so it felt good to get those two things out of the way. Also, it was fun because everybody was going nuts and it was a good time."
Cooper Wallace will be facing his hometown team on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium when the Vandy Commodores come to AU.
While preparing for Vanderbilt after the Tigers' 56-0 dismantling of the Western Carolina Catamounts in which the offense racked up 621 yards of total offense, the most under a Tommy Tuberville coached team, Wallace says that the game was just what this team needed.
"It was a lot of fun," he notes. "I got broken in at USC, but against Western Carolina I played, I think, 33 plays. It was also good to kind of get used to the home crowd even though I know it is going to get a lot crazier during the bigger games."
Along with the sheer enjoyment of destroying the opponent, Wallace says that last Saturday’s game provided the Tigers' offense with a serious opportunity for improvement. "That is another reason that that game was really good because we got to run a lot of plays and really work on a lot of our base plays just running them over and over and over to really get them down."
Blocking and doing it correctly was another major point of emphasis for the tight ends, according to Wallace. "Our big thing during the game was to execute, especially for the linemen and the quarterbacks," Wallace says. "To really execute the plays, not just run them as hard as we can, but to execute and take the right steps. So, that was a really good game to work on all of that."
As most everybody in Jordan-Hare Stadium noticed in the Western Carolina contest, the tight end position was a major facet of the offensive game plan. The three tight ends caught nine balls for 113 of the team's 276 receiving yards as well as both receiving touchdowns. One of the TDs was caught by Wallace and the other was snagged by senior Lorenzo Diamond. Diamond and Johnson also caught the two longest passes of the day for the Tigers which went for 30 and 31 yards, respectively.
Even with all of the action directed at the tight ends vs. WCU, Wallace says that there are still more left in offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino’s playbook for himself, Diamond and Johnson. "We have got a bunch of stuff in it that we have not run yet. So, I guess he is just waiting for the right time. But he has got a really good offense going for us, so I am looking forward to getting more into it."