August 5, 2008

Freshman RB taking it in stride

Sure, most true freshmen are excited about going through their first college practices. That is, until reality sets in.

Running around for two hours in the hot sun, getting knocked around by players bigger and stronger than you've ever seen before, being chewed out by coaches who were your best buddies during recruiting while still learning all the new drills and a playbook four times the size of the one you had in high school, that's the reality Auburn running back Eric Smith has faced the first three days of fall practice.

"I'm tired," said Smith. "It's a lot of hard work and dedication. It's a lot different than high school. You have to suck it up and be a man about it."

One of the toughest adjustment for Smith is the demanding style of running backs coach Eddie Gran, who constantly stays on his players to do everything right 100 percent of the time.

He doesn't hesitate to let them know when they mess up. Just ask senior Tristan Davis, who moved back from safety to running back a couple of years ago.

"Me and Ben Tate kept taking (Smith) to the side and warning him that (coach Gran) was going to stay on him," said Davis. "When I first moved to running back from safety, he stayed on me so long, I thought he hated me.

"He's just trying to get you thinking like he does. As a young player, you don't recognize that the other players are doing the right things because you don't know what's going on. Eric just has to stay with it."

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