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Auburn's ready to welcome back Sammie Coates
Sept. 15, 2014

Sammie Coates was touchdown bound in last year's win over Alabama

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Sammie Coates, welcome back to Auburn football.

Last year's leading receiver missed the Tigers' last game with an undisclosed injury, and had just one catch in the first game, but everybody is promising he'll be in the lineup when No. 5 Auburn plays at No. 20 Kansas State at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.
The scoreboard hasn't missed him. Auburn beat Arkansas 45-21 and San Jose State 59-13. But his players and coaches are ready for his return. 
"Sammie is the returning leading receiver we have and the leader in that room. It’s good to have him back," said fellow receiver Melvin Ray on Monday. "He's a deep threat, a guy that defenses have to worry about, and he just makes it better for the offense overall."
Coates had 42 catches for 902 yards and seven touchdowns last season. This season, he has the one catch for 13 yards. In his stead has been junior college transfer Duke Williams, who has 13 catches for 214 yards.
"Sammie is one of our big weapons  I think everyone saw that last year," said coach Gus Malzahn. "He provides a different element. 
"He’s really improved his all-around receiving skills and those intermediate routes we talk about. He’s an extremely good blocker. He’s a big strong guy who can block a lot of different guys and he knows the offense. He’s a veteran guy who allows us to make adjustments during the game without a problem. We feel good about him being ready to go."
 Malzahn also said…
 • On taking the Tigers on the road for the first time…  "We've got a big test on the road this week, playing a Top 20 team. It’ll be a good measuring stick to see where we are as a team this year. Offensively, they're very balanced. 
"What really stands out to me is they’ve only had one turnover all year. They do a really great job of protecting the football. Defensively, they're good against the run. They're very disciplined, very good at what they do.
"It’s a measuring stick for your program to go on the road against a Top 20 team at their place. It’s a hostile environment and a good measuring stick of where this team is and it will be a huge test. We’ll have to play well to win."
• Malzahn said Auburn will visit Bill Snyder Family Stadium for a Wednesday walk-through.
"We would like for them not see it for the first time on game day. It will be the first time for all the guys who will be playing a game there. We want them to be familiar with where the 25-second clocks are and all."
• If it's Monday…  "In our players’ minds, today is a Wednesday and same with our coaches, too. That’s the way we’ve been going about it. Tomorrow will be Thursday and then we travel. We just try our best to keep it as routine as possible."
 • On resting triple-threat kicker Daniel Carlson… "He’s doing everything, and your leg gets sore after games when you do that much, so it was good for him. He kicked a couple times last week and we've been smart with his leg. It was good for him and the overall team, too."
• On backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson…  "He can run our complete offense. Last year it was completely different than this year. There would be certain times we’d put him in there to run specific things, but he can run our entire offense. We have a lot of confidence in him.”
• On five SEC West teams being ranked in the Top 10… "It's the best division in college football and I don’t even think it’s close. I think people can see that now."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter:



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