War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 4 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Freshman WR Benton has his ups and downs

I wrote a feature on WR DeAngelo Benton for Monday's newspaper. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Out of breath and with his legs wobbling beneath him, Auburn wide receiver DeAngelo Benton dropped to the ground and immediately pushed his body back up. He reeled off a series of up-downs before gathering himself, bear crawling 5 yards forward to the next line and repeating the sequence.

The punishment continued for the full length of the Tigers’ practice field, at which point the freshman had made amends for an undisclosed transgression.

It’s an indication that the precocious newcomer, one expected to compete for playing time in the Tigers’ thin receiving corps, still is trying to find his way on the Plains.

“He’s a work in progress — getting better but learning a lot,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. “He’s got to work at our pace and our way.”

Benton might have erred in judgment last week, but it’s clear Auburn has high hopes and expectations for the 6-foot-2, 192-pound receiver, a freshman in eligibility only, already having turned 21 after two years of qualifying issues

“I consider Benton not even a freshman anymore,” cornerback Walt McFadden said. “(He) is probably looking the best of anybody.”
Read the rest by clicking here.

Benton will undoubtedly get on the field in some manner this season. Auburn simply needs him to, what with its questionable receiving corps. It is interesting how the Tigers' coaches have been cautious with their praise early on. Benton clearly did something to draw their ire (hence the up-downs) and already missed a practice after having his hand in a brace (it's unknown if the two things are related, but it would make sense).

It's interesting how these coaches have to recruit players so hard in January and February, making them think they're the greatest thing to set foot on a football field, then take them down several notches once they get to campus. It's a delicate dance every time a new group of freshmen get to a school.

I will say this: Benton has looked good in the brief time we've seen practices so far. He looks like he fits in among the veterans, which is more than you can say at a lot of other positions (the freshmen offensive linemen look tiny compared to the upperclassmen). Wide receivers step in all the time and compete immediately. It would not surprise me if Benton does the same this season.


Marmot said...

Andy, you always get great information, and a lot of it. I appreciate your work.

I'd like to know more about our walk-ons. It seems like this team will rely on walk-ons in ways previous teams did not. I get the impression that our coaches assume some of the O-line depth will come from walk-ons, and I'm hoping there's a diamond-in-the-rough quietly making his name at linebacker.

Andy Bitter said...

Marmot, I'll keep an eye on it. It's really tough to tell who's making an impact in the early going, just because we're so limited in what get to see on the practice field (it's mostly stretching).

Hopefully we'll get to see some drills where the offense and defense square off some point soon.