On land or through the air, Auburn's Ricardo Louis has produced for Auburn
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Opportunity could be waiting for big-play Ricardo Louis again.
The Auburn receiver, still remembered for his catch off a deflection to beat Georgia two years ago, has produced both big plays and consistency throughout his career. And while others may have garnered more headlines, he's in fact the Tigers' leading receiver and fifth-leading rusher this season.
An injury slowed him the last couple of games, but an off week has likely helped round back into shape. And with the departure of receiver Duke Williams, he could get more opportunities, starting with Thursday night's game at Kentucky.
"He's one of our guys that is an explosive playmaker in a bunch of different ways," said offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. "We missed having him out there the last couple of weeks so it was good to see him make a few impact plays. Being a senior, I think he knows it is his last go-around so he wants to be out there and this bye week comes at a great time for guys like him."
Louis has been one of Auburn's most steady performers this season, and most seasons. He's has 19 catches for 193 yards and 11 carries for 47 yards this season. He has 68 catches in his career.
He has caught a pass in 21 consecutive games, starting with the ricochet game against Georgia. He had a career-high 10 catches against Jacksonville State in the second game this season.
Now, he may be counted on more than ever.
"Sometimes, being a senior and it being your last time motivates you," Lashlee said. "He worked really hard, he's a guy after practice every day, he's on the JUGS machine catching extra balls. He's probably the last guy off the field. I think it's important to him, and then you put a guy in a different role maybe he hasn't been in and go to him more in those clutch situations gives them confidence to make a few plays. I've been proud of him, that has been a negative knock on him, but he's answered the bell."
Auburn is looking for playmakers such as Louis. Another could be running back Roc Thomas. He has 143 yards rushing, and is No. 2 on the stat sheet behind Peyton Barber, but he leads Auburn in yards per catch, at 20-plus, and is a threat.
Lashlee says Thomas did well last time out in a win over San Jose State.
"I thought he gave us some explosive plays with the screen pass and with some runs. He did run hard and physical, which is what we need him to do," Lashlee said. "He did a good job of protecting the football.
"Roc is one of those guys that has some explosive capabilities and he catches the ball well, too. We need to get a guy like him to play like he did yesterday for us to be successful."
Lashlee said Barber has assumed the role of the workhorse running back, and four 100-yard-plus rushing games in the first five games indicates that.
"Roc had been a little nicked up, but we're going to need all those guys. We're going to need him a lot more down the stretch."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine