How well Emory Blake and company adapt to Scot Loeffler's new offense will be a big key to a successful 2012 season.
Whoever wins the starting quarterback job will have two solid All-SEC caliber receivers to throw to and rely on. Emory Blake and Phillip Lutzenkirchen come into 2012 as established threats to any SEC defense. Lutzenkirchen was voted preseason first team All-SEC at tight end, and Blake was named preseason All-SEC third team. For Auburn's offense to be successful, other talented, young receivers will need to step up and make their presence known so opposing secondaries don't focus all of their attention on Auburn's two proven pass-catchers.
The receivers, like the rest of the offense, will be learning an entirely new offensive system, and with that comes new verbiage, timing routes, etc. By all accounts, this offense will be much more complex than former offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's. Scott Loeffler's gameplans will rely heavily on spacing, timing, and non verbal communication among the wideouts, although, fans will still see a lot of pre snap motions that was used in the days of Malzahn.
Projected Depth Chart:
Outside: Trovon Reed - Deangelo Benton - Ricardo Louis
Outside: Emory Blake - Sammie Coates - Jaylon Denson - Melvin Ray
Slot: Travante Stallworth - Quan Bray
Tight End: Phillip Lutzenkirchen - Brandon Fulse - C.J. Uzomah - Ricky Parks
WR: Quindarius Carr (Graduation)
It's still early , but the young guys who have garnered the most praise have been Trovon Reed and Quan Bray. At 6-3, 217, former minor league baseball player Melvin Ray looks the part, but it's foolish to assume he can jump onto an SEC field and perform at a high level after being away from the game for three years.
Travante Stallworth had a decent start to the 2011 season but injuries and lack of attention derailed his chance at having a breakthrough year. Deangelo Benton was supposed to "rewrite the record books," according to Trooper Taylor when Benton arrived on campus. We're still waiting for Benton to reach his full potential -- even half his potential.
We know Lutzenkirchen is going to be a major cog in the offensive machine, but look for back up tight end Brandon Fulse to get more attention this year. We would expect C.J Uzomah and Ricky Parks to see some playing time, too, as Loeffler will not be shy about featuring two or three tight ends.
There are four senior receivers that will lead the receiving corps this fall.
Kiehl Frazier whoever starts at quarterback should have plenty of solid targets to throw to. The questions lie more in Frazier's the quarterback's passing ability and whether or not he is protected by the offensive line -- the kind of protection that Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley did not have last season.
At the end of the year, look for Auburn to have at least two All-SEC pass catchers in Lutzenkirchen and Blake. Can one of the young, promising receivers step up and become the next great Auburn receiver. The opportunity is there for the taking. The Tigers receivers enter the season with a grade of B-, which is propped up by Blake and Lutzie and held back by the lack of any other proven threat. If some of the other receivers can step up, this could turn out to be a dangerous unit.