Auburn, Ala.--For some players, playing special teams is not a desirable role. Some do it to help the team from a depth and conditioning standpoint, but for Blake Field
it's his ticket onto the field.
Stuck being Brandon Cox and Kodi Burns at the quarterback position, special teams coach Eddie Gran approached Field during game week preparations before the Vanderbilt game.
"(Gran) was like, ‘You ever thought about playing special teams?'" Field explains. "I was like, ‘No?' He said, ‘Would you like to? Because we know you're tough, we know you want to win and we know that you've got some speed. Would you want to do it?' I said sure. He said, ‘You want to get on the field, don't you?'
"He knew I was pretty athletic and I wouldn't mind doing it," Field adds. "He asked me to do it and I said, ‘Sure, why not?'"
Field was in on punt return against Vanderbilt and is also working on the kickoff cover and kickoff return as the Tigers prepare for Arkansas on Saturday. The Tigers also took the redshirt off linebacker Josh Bynes and Ryan Williams because of injury and depth issues.
It was a new role for the redshirt junior QB, but not the first time he had played special teams. He was the quarterback and punter at Cairo, Ga., High School as a junior and at North Florida Christian as a senior.
"I was an All-State punter in two states--in Georgia my junior year and then I transferred to Florida my senior year," he notes. "I had been punting forever. My granddaddy was an All-American punter at Georgia for the 1948 SEC Championship there and I picked it up from him."
Quarterbacks aren't usually known for their athletic ability, but Field isn't a slouch in that department.
"I ran track my senior year," he says. "That was because they had golf in the fall. I played golf from sixth grade until my junior year for the team. I was football and golf and then I ran track my senior year."
As for his performance against the Commodores, Field says, "This week I was just covering the deep snapper. I was responsible for keeping him away from our punt returner.
"I think I did all right," he continues. "We watched film and there was one mistake I did early in the game. I almost hit him from behind, but other than that I think I did all right. He beat me down field a few times. I've just got to work on it because I have never, ever, done it before. Not even in elementary school or anything like that. This is all brand new to me."
Kickoff is at 6:45 p.m Saturday. CDT on ESPN.
Blake Field talks about his new role on the Auburn football team.