AUBURN, Ala. — Few underclassmen receivers have stuck out more to Gus Malzahn during spring practices than Ryan Davis.
The budding sophomore appears to have made significant strides since his freshman year.
“I’ll say this, Ryan Davis is a guy that really you can tell has taken that next step,” Malzahn said following Saturday’s practice. “He’s wanting to be coached. He’s got some ability. He’s as quick as a cat. He’s got some speed.
“He’s still learning to play the wide receiver position, but it’s starting to become more comfortable to him.”
Davis has operated both inside and out throughout the spring. During Saturday’s half-scrimmage, he hauled in two receptions, one of which came on a bubble screen. After failing to record a single catch as a freshman, Davis feels his time has come to contribute.
“I’m just out there hungry, trying to find any way I can get on the field,” Davis said. “I just feel like once I settle in and get the ball in my hands, everything will speak for itself.”
Davis credits his progression to first-year receivers coach Kodi Burns, whose familiarity playing in Auburn’s style of offense has paid dividends for the second-year receiver. Burns played wide receiver for the Tigers from 2009-10 after getting his start at quarterback.
“Having a spring with Coach Kodi (Burns), it actually helped me a lot,” Davis said. “He played in this offense. He has expectations. He knows how to win championships.”
But making plays with the ball in his hands won’t be enough for Davis to see the field next season, he says, unless he continues to show a willingness to block.
“With Coach Kodi (Burns), you’re not going to be on the field if you’re not blocking,” Davis said.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Davis figures to see the field during Auburn’s A-Day game this Saturday as he continues to build his case for more playing time.
“Overall, my spring has been going great,” Davis said. “I’ve been improving every day. I’m getting better. I’m taking coaching. I’m doing everything I need to do to get on the field.”