Despite the lack of information coming from Auburn’s coaching situation regarding the quarterback race, the running back battle appears to have a clear direction, according to running backs coach Curtis Luper.
“I’m pretty certain that Tre and Onterio can help us win in this league, but we need that third guy to help us,” Luper said.
A third guy may seem like a lot, but Auburn plans to have multiple tailbacks on the field in Scot Loeffler’s offense this season.
And that means Corey Grant, Mike Blakely and incoming freshman Jovon Robinson have a fight on their hands with playing time available.
“The thing about this offense is that it is creative, and we’ll have two on the field at the same time. That really helps,” Luper said. “A lot of times you’ll see Tre and Onterio and Corey and whoever, you’ll see us with multiple running backs on the field.”
There will be more on the running backs on the Auburn page of the Ledger-Enquirer tomorrow, so check back there. I’ll try to post a link to the story in tomorrow’s practice blog, as well.
But enough about that. Here’s the rest of what was said following Auburn’s second practice of August.
- Corey Grant, especially, could see extended time on special teams in 2012. “We’ve got numbers,” Luper said. “If we need to help this team on special teams, you’ll see some these young guys out there helping us on special teams before you see them with the ball.”
- Both Blakely and Grant face the problem of being away from the field for a while. “Blakely just has to do it,” Luper said. “Now, he hasn’t played in two years. I think once he gets into a game and can get hit around a little bit, I think he’ll be all right. Corey Grant hasn’t played in two years. Those guys just need to play. Hopefully, we can get them in early in the season and see what they can do.”
- Corey Grant, who weighed in at 203 pounds, can’t wait for Monday, when Auburn puts on the pads for the first time. “That’s the only thing I can think about every day,” Grant said. “Running around with shorts and a shirt, it’s football but it’s nothing like putting on the pads.”
- Grant’s loving his chance to be at home in the Auburn-Opelika area. “It’s a great feeling,” Grant said. “I can go home and see friends, family and just take classes, work out.”
- The mystery of John Sullen’s stationary bike has been solved. “He’s a little nicked up right now,” Gene Chizik said. “We’re trying to rest him a little bit. We feel like he’s going to be alright.”
- Auburn goes into shells (shoulder pads and helmets) tomorrow, and the Tigers have been changing venues throughout practice. “The next two days will be shells. Two very important days of evaluation for us,” Chizik said. “We were in some yesterday. We’re trying to balance it out. We have to get used to the heat with our pads on. We’re just trying to make sure we can figure out the best mix for our guys in terms of keeping them healthy.”
- A couple of freshman offensive linemen have started out their careers on the inside. “Jordan Diamond is playing some guard. Alex Kozan is playing some guard,” Chizik said. “Right now with our offensive line, we’re moving some guys around to see what the best fit is. That doesn’t mean anybody is particularly locked into a position, but we have to have a starting point.”
- Shon Coleman will be given a chance to compete. “I don’t even want to say that somebody can’t challenge for a job,” Chizik said. “We certainly don’t have solidified places along our offensive line. He’s certainly going to be one of those guys in the mix that we’ll look at real closely.”
- Nosa Eguae, like all the defensive linemen, has raved about Auburn’s newfound defensive line depth. “It’s awesome,” Eguae said. “Just to see 11 or 12 guys competing for jobs is something that I haven’t been a part of since I’ve been here.”
- Eguae knows he faces a stiff challenge for the starter’s spot from teammate Dee Ford, who had a huge spring. “I’m a little bit behind because it was a new defense to come in, but I spent a lot of time this summer grasping the defense,” Ford said. “I feel like the curve isn’t as much after I spent some time in the summer with some of the GA’s grasping the defense. He (Ford) did a great job this past spring, but right now we’re in competition. You’ve got to love it.”
- Brian VanGorder’s still intense. So he’s got that going for him. “That’s really what we needed,” Eguae said. “We’ve got a defensive coordinator that expects a high level, so you’ve got to go out there and give it to him.”
- Ford’s excited about the competition, too, saying it will have a competitive advantage when Auburn takes the field this fall. “Of course. Nosa’s a great player,” Ford said. “Of course I feel pressure. But in that pressure, I feel like confident that once we get in the game. … that’s more people we can throw at that offensive tackle.”