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Duke Williams, Sammie Coates together again at Auburn
Nov. 26, 2014

Duke Williams has a hug for Sammie Coates as they celebrate an Auburn touchdown

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Duke Williams and Sammie Coates are together again, are at least relatively healthy and ready to play Alabama.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn is ready to see what his two high-profile receivers can do Saturday after at the end of a regular season in which was one was hurt and then the other was hurt, but have been cleared to play in the Iron Bowl.

Williams has missed the last two games and most of the one before that. Now, Williams is back with Coates. 
"I think it can do nothing but help," Malzahn said.

Williams is "a guy that defenses have to account for," Malzahn said, "and that will take pressure off" of Coates.

They played together in seven full games. Williams missed most of the Texas A&M game, and all of Samford and Georgia after hurting a knee. Coates missed the second game of the year after hurting his knee, and Malzahn has spent most of the year talking about Coates battling at full strength.

Williams leads Auburn in catches, with 38; in receiving yards, 609; and touchdown catches five. Coates is third with 34 catches, second in receiving yards at 511 and third in TD catches with two.

Coates was Auburn's season last season, but the injury has slowed him.

Still, Malzahn said, "I think he's improved this year. The biggest thing is he's battled through the injury, which has been really challenging. He's shown some toughness. He probably played some weeks when others probably wouldn't.
Williams, a junior college transfer, burst on the Auburn scene in the first game of the year with nine catches for 154 yards  the most receiving yards for a newcomer in Auburn history  in a 45-21 win over Arkansas. 
"He's s a big weapon in our offense," Malzahn said. "I'm not going to say he's 100 percent, but even not 100 percent, he's a big weapon. He gives us some options."


• Malzahn said practice has gone well.

"We've had solid meetings, solid practices this week. It's been really good to have the extra time for a game like this and I think our guys have handled their time wisely.

"I think we're very confident. I like where we're at. We started off good, had a tough stretch there, but this is the Iron Bowl and our guys are excited to play in it."

• Auburn is fourth in the nation in punt returns. Still, Malzahn said the special teams have produced mixed results.

"At times we've been very good on special teams. And at times, we've not," he said. "Last year really came down to quite a few special teams' plays and I feel like this one will be no different. So we're going to play well on special teams."

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



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