Auburn's Sammie Coates didn't dress out last Saturday, but was in fine spirits for Tiger Walk
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Receiver Sammie Coates didn't play last Saturday because of an undisclosed injury, but coach Gus Malzahn says the playmaker is tracking toward a return.
"We feel like he'll come back 100 percent," Malzahn said on the school's Tiger Talk radio show Monday night.
Auburn has a bye week this week, so that will give Coates more time to heal, Malzahn said. The Tigers' next game is a week from Thursday at Kansas State. Auburn didn't miss Coates in last Saturday's 59-13 win over San Jose State, but Malzahn is wishing a speedy recovery for last year's leading receiver.
"Sammie is one of the better playmakers in our league, and we need him back healthy," he said.
The arrival of junior college transfer Duke Williams has added depth to the receiving corps, and the play of Melvin Ray, Tony Stevens, Ricardo Louis and Quan Bray makes things easier, too.
"This year we have a lot more options. Last year, it would have been a different story," Malzahn said. "Melvin Ray stepped up. Tony Stevens got a chance. Ricardo, we threw him a deep ball."
And there's the fact Williams caught nine passes in the season-opener and has 13 on the season after two games. A lot of those catches were from Jeremy Johnson in the first half of the win over Arkansas. Nick Marshall played most of the way in the second game, running for 103 yards and passing for 101.
Malzahn said Marshall's numbers will bet better.
"I feel good at where he's at. He'll improve as the year goes on," he said.
"There will be games where we'll have to throw for a lot of yards, and I believe we will."
Malzahn also said…
• Auburn will spend this bye week working on its base offense and defense. And, "overall, I like where we're at."
• A questioner wanted to know if Malzahn has a plan to play quarterbacks Johnson and Marshall at the same time…exactly the same time.
"That's an interesting idea," he chuckled.
• Malzahn on the game at Kansas State being played on a Thursday night, Sept. 18: "The fact we have a week off…it's really not that big a deal."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine