AUBURN, Ala. — Sammie Coates took advantage of his year away from football.
In 2011, he sat out after suffering a foot injury in preseason camp. He ended up taking a redshirt, and during that time on the sideline, Coates says he was able to "get his mind right."
The sophomore said last Saturday's performance — which saw him catch four passes for 139 yards — could be traced back to that redshirt season.
The LSU contest was part of a broader breakout season for Coates, who leads Auburn in receiving yards (306) and is tied for first in receptions (11) and touchdowns (one). No player has been targeted more on deep passes from quarterback Nick Marshall, either.
But does Coates view himself as the Tigers' "deep threat?"
"I think I am," he said. "They're trying to use me in different ways. I'm just going to keep working hard so I can be that go-to guy I just want to help the team win."
Dameyune Craig has played a big part in Coates' early season success as well. Auburn's wide receivers coach has constantly worked with the Leroy, Ala., native on refining his route-running.
"He's been pounding that into my head and how it'll help me become a better receiver," Coates said. "I've just been doing everything he says, listening to everything that comes out of his mouth."
Coates has paid special attention to perfecting his inside routes, recalling one of the passes he didn't haul in last week.
"The defender put his hand over (me) and it was just concentration," he said. "That’s what I think I got to work on more: concentrating when I’m going across the middle."
While Coates is pleased with his progress up to this point, he believes he is still far away from where he needs to be. So yes, he'll assume the reins of becoming Auburn's go-to receiver if it happens. That won't be good enough to win every game, though.
That's why the rest of the receiving corps has to develop along with him.
"I think as a team we are doing a real good job," he said, "but more playmakers (have) got to step up and make more plays as we’re going through this season. (That's) going to help us out."
Parkey on unsuccessful onside kick attempt: 'I thought I had it'
Cody Parkey prides himself on his onside kicks.
The senior kicker said Wednesday he was thrilled when Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn called for one late in last Saturday's game against LSU. Though it was initially ruled that Auburn recovered, the play was immediately reviewed. After viewing replays of the kick, officials said Parkey illegally touched the ball before it went 10 yards, giving the ball to LSU.
Parkey explained how the play developed from his vantage point.
"When I kicked it I saw (the LSU player) coming right at me and I saw the 10 yards," he said. "Right when I saw the 10 yards, I grabbed it. I don't know. I thought I had it and it looked good on the replay and all the replays we saw, but apparently the refs thought otherwise."