Auburn's Melvin Ray looking for more big plays
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Melvin Ray says it's time to be a playmaker, but he doesn't want to corner the market.
"Everyone," he says, "has to be available to make a big play."
Auburn will be looking for big plays in Thursday's 6 p.m. game at Kentucky, whether it's from the quarterbacks, running backs or a group of receivers who will play for the first time without Duke Williams, who was dismissed from the team since the last game.
Leading receiver Ricardo Louis is on board, as are Ray, Marcus Davis, Jason Smith, Stanton Truitt and Tony Stevens. Williams is the one who's missing.
"Everyone has to be able to step up and make a play and not depend on him or Ricardo or anybody else to be that guy," Ray said. "We all have to be prepared for it at any moment."
Ray said the other receivers have "been wanting to have that role so now they got to step up and we got to be ready to do it. Whether that's Tony, myself, Ricardo, Jason or anybody in the receiving corps, just have to be ready to step up and make a play… make big plays the whole game.
Louis leads Auburn in catches with 19. Williams had 12. Ray has nine. Davis has four, Smith has three and Truitt has one.
Ray says Auburn is "actually a pretty good team, and we know how good we are across the board. We know what we got talent-wise and ability-wise and so far we just haven’t proved it. A lot of people don’t think that we’re capable of doing the things we want to do in this league."
Coach Gus Malzahn is in hurry-up mode already.
"We're at our best when we're playing fast and we're getting rhythm and tempo," he said this week. "Rhythm and tempo are a big factor in our off-week. Explosive plays, we have to get more explosive plays. That's been probably the biggest issue we've had as far as getting in rhythm or as putting points on the board. We've got that plan during the off-week moving forward, personnel-wise and everything that goes with that, so hopefully that will carry over Thursday night."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine