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Fannin moves to wide receiver

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Fannin moves to wide receiver

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

AUBURN -- Auburn true freshman Mario Fannin has spent the last three weeks learning how to be a running back.

On Tuesday, he started the process anew after being switched to wide receiver.

"Basically it's just a way for me to get on the field faster and help the team," Fannin said. "That's why we came to the choice. I told the coaches when I got here that I just wanted to help the team this year."

The Lovejoy, Ga., native was recruited as an athlete out of high school, so his ultimate destination was up in the air. He started at running back, where coach Eddie Gran immediately noticed his soft hands.

Auburn has a crowded backfield, including another true freshman in Ben Tate, so coaches decided Fannin might be a better fit at receiver.

"I'm going to the wide receiver position just like I'm at running back," Fannin said. "I'm going to give it my all. If it leads me to stay there, I'll stay. If it leads me to go back to running back, I'll go back to running back."

Even with Auburn's lack of depth at receiver, it seems unlikely Fannin will play in 2006 and a redshirt is expected.

"If I redshirt, I'll be on scout team, and I still have to give the defense a good look," Fannin said. "That's the way it's going to have to be. If I play, then I'll help the team by playing."

-- INJURY WATCH: Offensive lineman Tyronne Green (flu), offensive lineman Leon Hart (abdomen), linebacker Will Herring (hamstring), linebacker Merrill Johnson (foot) and receiver Courtney Taylor (knee) have all returned from injuries.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had originally suggested that Herring's injury might be more serious, but the converted linebacker was playing at full speed on Tuesday.

"He knows he has to get back in there on a couple of these days where we're going full speed," Tuberville said. "We're still working a lot of technique and he wanted to get some technique work in. You have to take your hat off to him. He's a tough kid. He knows his body. We told him, 'If you think you can go, go.'"

-- CHART WATCH: Coaches had been expected to prepare an updated, official depth chart over the weekend, but Tuberville said that had been pushed back until injuries were healed.

Now that several players have returned, Tuberville said a new chart should come out in a few days.

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