Trott is going to be the man

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AUBURN — Tommy Trott has been around long enough to know that players’ opinion on strategy don’t carry much weight.

There’s a reason Auburn pays its coaching staff almost $4 million per year. Nobody knows that better than Trott, who time and again bit his tongue and forwarded the company line during the past two seasons.

The former Trinity Presbyterian standout was one of the nation’s most refined high-school tight ends in 2004. His hands were gentle, his agility unusual for a 230-pound player and everyone around knew Trott had the skills to be an elite receiver.

Yet he spent Saturdays as a sixth offensive lineman.

“I can’t say I really got down, but there definitely were times when I wondered what I was doing here as a 255-pound blocker,” Trott said. “That’s not me. I like to block, sure, but I like to do a lot of other things. That’s what I wanted to do when I came to Auburn. I just kept hoping.”

Nobody rejoiced more than Trott when new coordinator Tony Franklin arrived last December with an aggressive offensive system. It’s not that the sophomore had a personal problem with Franklin’s predecessor, Al Borges, but tight ends were an afterthought in the Tigers’ old system.

Trott caught 103 passes during his final two seasons at Trinity.

He caught 14 passes during his first two years at Auburn.

The irony is that Trott and classmate Gabe McKenzie were considered the Southeastern Conference’s top young tight ends in 2006. Borges pledged to make them a more significant part of the offense in 2007.

That didn’t happen.

Tight ends accounted for 15 percent of the Tigers’ receptions in 2006. That number dropped to 14 last year.

Along came Franklin, though, with more than promises. His offensive system emphasizes quick passes and Trott has become a spring sensation. He caught four passes in Auburn’s half-scrimmage last week, turning two ordinary catches into touchdowns.

“Every time he comes out here, he plays good,” Franklin said. “You’ve got other guys — one day they play good, one day they don’t. He’s going to be very dynamic in this offense. I wish everybody would play the way he does every day.”

Trott has been doing his part to make himself a more intriguing offensive element. He ditched the weight-gain program Borges demanded and has lost 13 pounds since the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The goal is to open two-a-days at 235 pounds. If that happens, Trott’s weight will be the same as it was at Trinity.

His role on the field is similar as well. Trott often is aligned in the traditional spot beside the tackle, but he’s upright these days. He spends most plays in pattern as one of the quarterback’s top three options.

Big numbers could await.

“I feel like this is my kind of offense,” Trott said. “This is what I did in high school. I’m trying to get back to where I was in high school. I’m running well. I’m catching well. I hope this will be a great season.”

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