Marcus Davis was a wide receiver at Auburn from 2013-16 and has reunited with the Plains but this time in a coaching capacity. Davis finished his playing career with 83 receptions and ranks eighth in Auburn history for punt return average (9.76).
Davis isn’t the only former Auburn player to return to the football field. Kam Martin and Tre Williams competed with Davis and are now collegiate coaches. Martin was reunited with former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn as UCF’s running back coach, and Williams is the special teams coordinator and defensive assistant at South Alabama.
“It’s crazy. All those guys that you just named were all leaders when they were here. So like, it’s really, really good to see, and they’re all good people,” Davis said. “And I know they’re coaching under good leadership because all those guys got good hearts, man. They are all about young people, and they are all about helping. I couldn’t be more proud of any one of those guys.”
With spring training in session, Davis is preparing his players for obstacles they will face on and off the field in the fall.
“The biggest thing that I’m stressing to those guys right now is attitude and effort because how you do anything is how you do everything,” Davis said. “So first off is just getting them to do the little things day-by-day, day in and day out, and everything will come along the farther you get into spring, and the more you continue to compete.”
Head coach Hugh Freeze discussed early this week that his quarterbacks and receivers aren’t where he wants them to be, so consistency is the primary goal for Davis’ receivers this spring.
“The biggest thing is doing the little things better and staying consistent,” Davis said. “You know that was the word of the day the other day for the room. Never get too hot. Never get too low. Just stay right in the middle, and I tell them all the time the difference between good and great, because everybody wants to be great, is good consistency. You know, that’s how you become great at whatever it may be, so consistency is big for our room.”
Davis mentioned that starting positions had not been decided yet, so the spring is the time for his athletes to compete.
“Everybody’s competing, that’s what this is, it’s competition. That’s what the spring is for me. You know, everybody is competing against each other,” Davis said.
With a new offense, the athletes must get used to tempo – playing fast – and playing to expectation when they step on the field. Davis discussed that repetition is the biggest thing his guys have to lock down to be successful.
“It’s just reps, just getting reps and doing it. That’s what it’s about, you know, that’s what I could say about that,” Davis said. “Any (run-pass option), any new offense in general, it’s about rep. So the more reps you get, the better you get at it, and that’s just like doing anything just from a standpoint of progression with the guys.”
One of the guys that has shown good progression is sophomore Camden Brown. Brown has caught Davis’ attention for his impressive talent and attitude on and off the field.
“The first thing that comes to my mind on (Camden Brown) is that he’s hungry. He wants to get better, and he’s a younger guy. So he’s a good person to have in your room,” Davis said. “He does some good things – getting better at releases. You know, he gets better at catching with his hands. So, it’s just about continuing to build that confidence and continue to go hard because he’s somebody that I can see that could be a leader in that room just by his approach.”
Along with younger guys, the Tigers added experience to their receivers with senior Nick Mardner. Mardner transferred from Cincinnati, but Davis met Mardner at the University of Hawaii in 2018-20. Along with being a veteran, Mardner adds size to his position. Sitting at 6-foot-6 and weighing 209 pounds, this makes him a bigger target for the quarterback.
“It’s a new offense for everybody. There’s been progression made with him. It’s good that we have a bigger guy, and it’s a good mix for that room. It’s good for younger guys, and it’s good for expectations,” Davis said.
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Caitlyn Griffin is a freshman from Huntsville, Ala. majoring in journalism. She started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.