A new coaching staff means a fresh start for every player in the program, and oftentimes, that means that players who weren't stars before are poised for breakout seasons.
Auburn wide receiver Quan Bray is one of those players.
He's coming off of rather pedestrian season that saw the LaGrange, Ga., native catch 14 passes for 94 yards as a sophomore in Auburn's disastrous offense.
But new head coach Gus Malzahn has brought the hurry-up, no-huddle offense back to the Plains, which will mean big things for Bray as a junior.
Bray had 17 catches for 93 yards as a freshman in 2011, when Malzahn was offensive coordinator, and is being counted on to be a major part of Auburn's passing game this season, according to AL.com.
“The defense last year, they probably always knew what was coming,” said Bray. “Now that we have this tempo and things going, we've always got them on their heels and they don't know what's going to hit them.”
Except that they will in 2013, but they may not be able to stop it.
At 5'10", 183 pounds and quick with his feet, Bray has everything it takes to be the perfect slot receiver in Malzahn's offense—just like Terrell Zachery was for Auburn during the run to the 2010 BCS National Championship.
Zachery made his mark on that team primarily as a slot receiver and was huge in the screen game, catching 44 passes for 633 yards and four touchdowns. He had sure hands, was dangerous in open space and was fast enough to run away from opposing defenses, just like Bray.
But Bray won't just make a mark as a wide receiver.
According to AL.com, he could also see time as a Wildcat quarterback in the 2013 Auburn offense. That's a spot that suits him well. Bray played quarterback in high school, and he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Kiehl Frazier on a trick play last season.
Is he going to win the Davey O'Brien Award? No. But he's at least a minor threat to throw the ball, which will add a different dimension to the offense when the Tigers line up in the Wildcat.
With 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, he may also be used as the changeup running back on speed sweeps, similar to how former running back Onterio McCalebb made an impact from 2009-12. That kind of speed an home run ability will be dangerous if he gets out in open space.
Malzahn will get the offense turned around on the Plains. When he was hired as offensive coordinator in 2009, he turned around an anemic offense into what was then a record-setting offense that averaged 431.8 yards per game.
He gets the ball in the hands of playmakers in space, and Bray is one of those playmakers. He will be a big factor in Malzahn's latest rebuilding effort in a variety of ways, and it should be fun to watch.