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Quan Bray steps in to make the plays at Auburn
Nov. 12, 2014

They cheered Quan Bray on to his touchdown against Texas A&M

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Leading receiver Duke Williams went down, so Quan Bray stepped up in Auburn's passing game last Saturday.

Bray had a team-high six catches in an Auburn comeback attempt that fell short against Texas A&M, and now he'll be looking for more when the Tigers meet Georgia at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in Athens. The senior's 25 catches in nine games are already two more than he had in 14 games last year in what was his best season.

"Every year he's been here he's developed more and more as a wide receiver and I think everybody sees now he's starting to make plays down the field and running very good routes, strong with the ball," said coach Gus Malzahn. "He's really doing some things at the receiver position that is really helping us."

Bray also moonlights as one of the top punt returners in the country.

Melvin Ray and C.J. Uzomah mostly replaced Williams at his position. Bray can play both wide receiver and the slot and became a go-to target for quarterback Nick Marshall. 

Malzahn didn't completely rule Williams out or the Georgia game, but said he probably wouldn't play. That means wideout Sammie Coates will be counted on, as well as Bray, Ray, Uzomah and others to pick up the slack. 

Auburn's receivers are often interchangeable. Know how many games Sammie Coates has started? Four. Melvin Ray? Five. Quan Bray? The last two. At the WR/RB/TE slot on Auburn's official starting lineup chart? Four receivers, with only Ricardo Louis starting two consecutive games there.

Some of the latter is skewed by what happens to be the first play call in the game, but it shows the depth of the lineup. Williams leads Auburn with 38 catches. Bray has his 25, Coates has 20 and Louis has 17, and he's Auburn's fifth-leading rusher with 175 yards on reverses.

Ray and Uzomah, a tight end by trade, had the first shot at Williams' position last Saturday.

"Those guys do their thing in practice every day, and when they have an opportunity in the game, they make plays. We have a lot of confidence in both of those guys," Bray said.

"Here's the good thing," Malzahn said, "we've got a lot of our receivers back from last year. The addition of Duke was really good, but our guys are used to operating. We've got our receiver coach, our quarterback coach, our quarterback back. So, we're in solid shape as far as without Duke if we have to play without him. We've got a lot of confidence in our receivers and it's not just Sammie, we've got some other guys who have big-game experience that have made big plays in big games."

Throwing and catching is one thing. Bouncing back is another after the loss to Texas A&M. The nation still thinks a lot of Auburn. The Tigers, at No. 9, are the highest-ranked two-loss team in the College Football Playoff standings that were released Tuesday night.

Bray has seen it all.

"It helps a lot, because we've been through a lot of ups and downs, and we understand, we slipped up, made uncharacteristic mistakes in that game, and we're just regrouping," he said.

"We're still, we're good. We're a two-loss team, we're in the Top 10, we still feel like we hold our destiny. We're just going to go out and play and go 3-0 and at the end of the season, we'll see what's there."

"I know there's no pressure on us, because we've been through major adversity, and we know how to overcome it."

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



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