Melvin Ray is way up there to catch a touchdown for Auburn last Saturday
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Coach Gus Malzahn says he wasn't surprised when trusted Melvin Ray came up with a big catch for Auburn late in the game last Saturday.
Ray caught a 9-yard touchdown pass with 39 seconds left in regulation on the way to Auburn's overtime win over Jacksonville State. That shows up on the highlight reel, but Malzahn said Ray's impact goes beyond that.
"He does a lot of things that aren't shown on the stat sheet," Malzahn said on Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show Monday night. "He actually played more snaps than any receiver we had, and really played hard down the stretch. He had the energy to make that last play. Melvin is a winner, he's a guy we can count on.
"He provides good leadership in our wide receiver room, and, really, he's a good leader for our entire offense. He doesn't have bad days. He goes hard all the time, and it really sets a great example for the other guys."
Auburn will be looking to Ray and other receivers when the Tigers visit LSU at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There seems to be a lot to choose from. Eight players, including running backs, caught passes against Jacksonville State, including Ricardo Louis, who had 10 catches; and Ray, who had three.
Malzahn stayed on a positive track during the broadcast…
• On running back Peyton Barber: "He willed us to win… His toughness and attitude is really going to help us."
• On what Auburn got out of the game:
"From a team standpoint, later in the year under extreme adversity and pressure, you find out a lot about your team, how they're going to react. The positive of the game, even though they didn't play well, there was nobody panicked on the sideline, there weren't any players that had their head down and pouting. You can build on that. Everybody kept doing what they're supposed to be doing.
Obviously we've got improvements, we knew that coming in."
• On injured defensive players Carl Lawson and Tray Matthews:
He called them "day to day. We're doing everything we can to get them back."
• On running back Jovon Robinson:
Malzahn said Robinson has dealt with an injury, but hopes he'll be available at LSU.
• On quarterback Jeremy Johnson:
He "can run the football, and he definitely will before the year is out."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine