April 12, 2014
Auburn's Sammie Coates is on his way to a touchdown against Alabama(Shanna Lockwood / USA Today photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Sammie Coates can't wait for next week's A-Day Game.
"It's going to be exciting. I'm ready to show the fans what we've got this year."
What Auburn's leading receiver last season sees this spring is more depth, thanks to the addition of junior college transfer Duke Williams and freshman Stanton Truitt, and the experience everyone gained from being in Gus Malzahn's offense for, mostly, the first time.
Now, says Coates, "It's crazy how much talent in one room."
Roll call: There's Coates, and Williams and Truitt; and Ricardo Louis, Marcus Davis, Quan Bray, Melvin Ray, Tony Stevens and Jaylon Denson.
"Everybody is helping each other," Coates said.
Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was talking up his receivers this week. Coates, after a non-scrimmage practice in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, also liked the look of the receiving corps.
"We're doing pretty well right now," he said. "We've still got a lot of work. But we're playing hard, we're playing physical.
"We've just got to keep getting better as the spring goes on. This is the last week of work, so we've got to continue to make plays and get better so we can become the best wide receivers in the country."
Coates, a redshirt junior to be, has been around. He led Auburn last year with team highs in catches, with 42; in yards, 902; and with seven receiving touchdowns. Players can gravitate to those stats and to him.
"It's a big role. A lot of people look up to me," Coates said. "I just go out there with the mindset that I have to do the right thing, because if I mess up, they look at it as it's OK to mess up, so I try to be a leader in everything that I do."
Williams arrived as the No. 1 junior college player in the country. He's the wildcard, at least to those who haven't seen practice.
"He is doing a great job," Coates said. "He's making big plays. He's helping a lot of us out. He's been a good leader, making plays."
Saturday was a light day for starting quarterback Nick Marshall. Back Jeremy Johnson assumed his role.
"Both of them are throwing the ball well," Coates said. "They're reading right. It's two competitive guys doing a great job right now in spring ball."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine