By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Jason Smith is listening to the guy who did it, who made the transition from quarterback to receiver, who became a team guy who helped Auburn win it all.
Jason Smith is listening to new wide receiver coach Kodi Burns.
"I see that he did it, was successful doing it and got a chance to play in the national championship game," Smith says. "I'm ready to listen to what he says. He was successful doing it, and I think I can be, too."
Smith was a quarterback in high school, got a chance to try his luck at that positon at Auburn, then moved to receiver. He's been moving in that confined space ever since, moving from one receiver spot to another. He's settling in to being the boundary receiver in his junior year.
Smith said he learned from former receiver coach Dameyune Craig and "definitely a lot from Kodi Burns."
"He played in this system, so he really likes spreading a lot if knowledge and things to us.”
Smith said moving around in the formation at receiver — he's played, in football parlance, the "3," the "2" and now the "9" — was sometimes frustrating. "But that comes with the game. You've got to be able to help the team in any kind of way." Smith said the "9" is "kind of the main guy that's on the field throughout all of the formations."
"I think I can bring an impact into this offense. But a lot of guys are stepping up. No matter who gets thrown in there, we're not lacking at all," he said.
Smith had a big finish last season, catching a 77-yard touchdown pass against Alabama, then an 11-yard touchdown pass in the Birmingham Bowl. He finished with 13 catches for 203 yards.
Smith said he's settling in at his new position with "having a positive mindset in everything I do. I'm attacking the day no matter what it is. If it's school, going to class, get something out of it and get close to my goals.
"I see myself as a leader and I think everybody has a leadership role no matter their year. Everybody has a voice."
Burns said he's seen a change in Smith.
"Jason Smith has done a great job in camp so far. I've been really impressed with him," Burns said. "He's kind of changed his attitude. He's changed everything that he's doing. He looks quicker. He understands the offense a little better. He's more comfortable in his role and I think he realizes that he fells a sense of urgency that, 'Hey I want to be that guy. I want to be that big-play guy.' Hopefully, we can bring him along and he can help us.
"He's been locked in and going full speed in everything he does — just the willingness to learn, the willingness to compete on a daily basis. Fall camp is a grind. You're going out there every single day, you're waking up early, you're finishing late. You eat, you work out, you practice, and it gets to your mind. If you're mentally tough in this offense, mentally tough on this team, you're going to play and help us out. Because if you can get through fall camp and make plays, you're going to make plays on Saturdays."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine