Smith Expecting More Out of Passing Game

Rod Smith

Senior wide receiver Rod Smith talks about the struggles in the passing game and what he's looking for in week two.

Auburn, Ala.--This weekend the Auburn Tigers will have a different starter at the quarterback position as Chris Todd takes over the reigns with game one starter Kodi Burns questionable for Southern Miss as he heals from a cut on his leg.

Alternating series last week, the quarterbacks never seemed to get into a rhythm in an offense designed to do just that under coordinator Tony Franklin. The result was just 85 yards passing with several dropped balls along the way. Senior wide receiver Rod Smith was one of the bright spots on an otherwise dark passing night and he says that the first game wasn't what they were hoping for as an offense.

"I was a little surprised that we didn't do as well as we wanted to in the passing game," Smith says. "I thought we could have been a lot better. You can't expect a perfect game. The running game just happened to be working for us Saturday and the passing game was off. One week the passing game might have to pick us up.

"I knew it was going to be kind of rough going into the first game getting a feel for everything," Smith says. "I expect us to be a lot better this Saturday in the passing game and the running game."

Rod Smith For much of the preseason the wide receivers had been one of the bright spots on the offense. That changed in the blink of an eye on Saturday as talented freshman Philip Pierre-Louis went down on the opening kickoff and then senior James Swinton followed suit on the very next play. Already without Montez Billings, Smith says it made for a long and frustrating night as the offense turned to the running game to get the job done.

"I think all the receivers are angry that we had 85 yards," Smith says. "I think all of us are kind of upset because with this spread offense we wanted to air the ball out a lot more. I definitely think we'll pick it up in the passing game and get more opportunities to catch the ball. I'm looking forward to a more productive passing game this Saturday."

That is likely the case with Todd getting the call and Burns possibly going ot be held out of action. Todd had 70 of Auburn's 85 passing yards in the opener and seemed to find a comfort zone late in the game after Burns had gone to the locker room to treat his cut, which required stitches. Smith says he thinks they may eventually find one guy to take things over and he's anxious to see how things play out this week.

"That definitely is a thought that goes through my mind sometimes, that we need one quarterback," Smith says. "You can't complain if you've got two great quarterbacks. Whatever happens, happens. If Coach Franklin decides to play one quarterback then that's who we have to go with. I didn't know who was going to be the starting quarterback until Kodi went on the field and I don't know who's going to be the starter this week. Whoever is on the field that's who you have to roll with."

This week Auburn's offense will need to bring its running and passing game as Southern Miss is coming off a 51-point performance in its opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. Smith notes while it's all about what the Tigers do in terms of execution, they're expecting a tough challenge from the Golden Eagles.

"From what I've seen from Southern Miss they've got a real good defense," the senior says. "They've got a lot of hyped guys, active guys. We definitely have to be on our P's and Q's this week against Southern Miss. They have a pretty good defense."

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