AUBURN, Ala. — When he didn’t break the starting rotation in the preseason depth chart, many wondered if Tony Stevens might not live up to his senior leader billing.
That soon disappeared, however. Once Sean White became the full-time starter, Stevens became his favorite target. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound wide receiver filled into that boundary receiver role in this Auburn offense.
Stevens leads the team in receptions (24), receiving yards (408) and touchdowns (3). When White is in trouble, he finds Stevens. He’s been a reliable outlet for the sophomore quarterback.
That leadership role has meant a lot to the senior receiver from Orlando. Here’s what Stevens had to say this week leading up to the Arkansas matchup.
Q: Auburn is counting on you to be an offensive leader. What does that mean for you?
A: “I’m trying to lead in everything. Me and Marcus, being the seniors that we are, we’ve just had to have more urgency than the first six games. We’ve just got to pick it up and take it to another level on this last back end. We need to just execute, really, because as seniors, we don’t have anything left. We have to take that into playing and just give it everything we’ve got.”
Q: Is this the season you envisioned as a senior?
A: “I wish we were undefeated but things happened. It’s on the right track.”
Q: What about on a personal standpoint?
“Oh, yeah. I mean, I can’t complain. I’m in a good spot, we’re all in a good spot. I’m just blessed to be here.”
Q: What was the response after the early INT/drop against Mississippi State?
A: “Malzahn, he really didn’t say anything. He just tapped me on the butt and said, ‘Don’t worry about it, you’ll get them next time.’ I actually told Sean that I got him. That was on me. The rest happened.”
Q: What did their confidence to throw in your direction immediately after the drop show you?
A: “It means a lot not only to me, but the whole coaching staff. They trust me to be that third-down guy and make that play on third down. They gave it to me again and again. I just really appreciate that.”
Q: How much emphasis was placed on avoiding drops this offseason?
A: “The work ethic we put in the offseason, I think that played a big role. Sean is pretty on target. He’s throwing at 70 percent completion. I think that has a lot to do with it also. We just get on a roll, on a hot streak … yeah, Kodi (Burns), he pretty much gets on us about that a lot. He really got on it in the spring. He said when he came over here that receivers aren’t going to drop the ball. He’s been doing a lot of ball drills with us. That plays a big part in it, too. Coach Kodi has been doing a good job.”
Q: What did you think of Sean White in the Arkansas game last year?
A: “Sean was on a roll that game. He had a big game in the Kentucky game, too. I think we played Kentucky before that one. Sean White just has awesome game. He’s just awesome.”