AUBURN | Jason Smith had just four catches for 60 yards last season, well below his production as a sophomore when he had 13 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns.
What happened? Well, it’s hard to get any details from Smith or Auburn’s staff but wide receivers coach Kodi Burns at least hints at one issue.
“He’s just got to be consistent in everything he does,” Burns said. “I’m fair with all of my guys. Just consistency is the main thing. I tell those guys, ‘You’ve got to clock in and clock out every single day.’ In the meeting room, on the field, it’s about clocking in, putting in the work and then you clock out and you do what you do. It’s just all about consistency.”
Smith managed to stay positive throughout most of last season, even as he was passed by on the depth chart by several younger players.
“When you're not getting as many touches as you want, you're not scoring the ball or even getting to play, it's a mind thing. You've just got to stay focused and have faith,” Smith said.
Smith’s final opportunity begins this year. So far, Burns likes what he’s seen from the senior more than halfway through spring drills.
“He’s done a great job, especially early on in the spring, coming out and making plays. Kind of being one of those leaders,” Burns said. “You know, we don’t have a bunch of older guys right now at receiver and he’s really the vet of the group. So just taking that next step as far as being a vocal guy, being a leader and kind of showing these young guys how to work has been really positive so far.”
Smith appears to have gotten the message and is confident he can earn more playing time this season.
“I think I can. I really want to. I know I can. I know I will,” Smith said. “I've just got to stay focused and keep being consistent."
Smith has taken on a leadership role with the receivers and is hoping to develop into a go-to receiver this fall. But his most important goal is focused on the team.
“I just want to win. That's my goal,” Smith said. “I haven't won any championships in my whole time playing football. That's all I want. I want a championship.”
Auburn’s annual A-Day game is Saturday, April 8 at 1 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.