HOOVER, Ala. -- Of all the things that plagued Auburn’s offense last season, the Tigers’ inability to generate a downfield passing game was probably the most damaging.
Auburn finished ninth in the SEC in passing offense, and opposing defenses dared the Tigers to go down the field most of the season.
Their most dependable threat, Emory Blake, was battling a high ankle sprain, and Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday that Blake was completely healthy for probably only three of the Tigers’ games last season.
“Getting Emory back healthy is one of the best things that can happen for our passing game,” Chizik said.
Indeed, Blake caught eight touchdown passes during Auburn’s 2010 national championship season. He dropped off to five touchdown catches last season and missed three entire games during the middle of the season.
Blake has embraced first-year coordinator Scot Loeffler’s new offensive system and said it won’t be as dependent on one or two players.
“Our passing game will be completely revamped,” Blake said. “With coach Loeffler’s style of offense, it has to be. It’s going to be a lot better than it was last year.
“I believe the system itself allows more people to be more involved, and when you’ve got more people involved, that opens me up.”
Blake, one of the more underrated receivers in the SEC, said he’s not caught up in who wins the quarterback job and thinks the competition will be close this preseason between junior Clint Moseley and sophomore Kiehl Frazier.
“Kiehl has come a long way and Clint has the experience. We’ll see what happens,” Blake said.
It might be a couple of games into the season before Auburn hits its stride -- as an offense and as a team.
“Even the 2010 team didn’t know what we were capable of until we started rolling,” Blake said. “But once we started rolling, we felt like we couldn’t be beat. I still think it takes a couple of games for you to realize what you can do. But the chemistry is there and the leadership is there. We just have to put it all together.”