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Auburn's Sammie Coates going deep with passing game
Nov. 7, 2014

Auburn's Sammie Coates battles Senquez Golson for the ball at Ole Miss

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Coach Gus Malzahn says Sammie Coates is feeling better, and the Auburn receiver showed it last time out.

Coates caught a season-high five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday's win at Ole Miss, and a day later famously said of quarterback Nick Marshall, "put it in our area code, we're going to bring it in."

Coates and Duke Williams are big targets, and Marshall proved once again against Ole Miss he's not afraid to throw deep to them because (1.) they catch and (2.) the long passes loosen up defenses who sell out to defend the run. That could be in the game plan again when Auburn faces Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Marshall threw for a season-high 254 yards in last Saturday's 35-31 win over Ole Miss, though Texas A&M has the most trouble defending the run. Auburn just happens to lead the SEC in rushing.

In any case, Coates is happy enough to go deep.

"You've just got to wait on your time. You can miss some, you can catch some. You can't win them all. If you get a chance to make a play, you make a play," he says.

Coates led Auburn in receiving last season with 42 catches, but a sore knee slowed him in the early going this season. He has 18 this year.

"Sammie is right at 100 percent probably for the first time since early in the season," Malzahn said this week. 

Malzahn also talked up Marshall this week, saying his quarterback should be in discussions as one of college football's top players.

"He's a winner. He performs at his best when the pressure's the highest. Compared to all these other guys, he's probably had a little more big-game experience as the number of big games. I don't know if there's another guy out there that has his resume as far as that goes," Malzahn said.

A full-speed Coates gives Marshall more options, but already 14 players have caught passes for Auburn this season.

"As a wide receiver crew, we've got a whole bunch of playmakers in our room," Coates said. "Nick, he's comfortable, he knows that if he throws the ball in our area, we're going to make a play with it. We tell him, not to think too hard about how he throws it."

Marshall directed Auburn to a late touchdown to beat Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel last year in College Station. Coates said it was a significant stop on the way to the BCS title game.

"Texas A&M, last year, really sparked our season," he said. "It showed us who we were, how good we could be if we just kept doing the little things right."

Coates said he had the same feeling after beating Ole Miss last week.

"That was a big road game. We got another test, we went to Ole Miss, and we showed up. We know what we can do now, we can play with anybody in the country, so we're going to just keep going."

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



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