With a young, learning offensive line and a quarterback battle still occurring, there are several question marks on the field for the Auburn football team. Running back, however, is not one of those uncertainties.
With the talent and depth provided in the backfield, the biggest question for the position is who will be the top two carriers in 2012.
Onterio McCalebb has continued to play at the level he has built expectations to over the last three seasons. The speedster who has been known to break outside and simply outrun opponents has been noted by Coach Gene Chizik as still producing this fall.
After limited rushes last season, Tre Mason is expected to get the ball more this fall. The sophomore has shown he has potential to, along with McCalebb, slowly pick up where Michael Dyer left off for the Tigers before transferring to Arkansas State in January.
Newcomers playing well has created a competition with McCalebb and Mason for who will get a majority of the carriers in 2012.
Corey Grant was named the top player on the scout team last season while he was ineligible to play after transferring from Alabama due to NCAA rules. Chizik has noted Grant will play on special teams along with in the backfield, as well. Despite being inconsistent during spring drills, Florida transfer Mike Blakely has played better during fall camp and provides a power back to the position.
The Tigers had two surprises at the end of the week at running back. The first was Jovon Robinson being accused of having a fake transcript from high school, which was reported by The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. As the investigation continues, Robinson will not practice, Chizik said.
Saturday’s scrimmage provided the second surprise. With several tailbacks banged up and Mason taking a breather, Patrick Lymon and Chandler Shakespeare both had “explosive plays,” according to Mason. With both Lymon and Shakespeare being walk-ons, Mason added that is nothing more than a title.
With eight players on the roster listed at running back, it is extremely difficult to believe all will have a adequate amount of carriers in 2012, but thus far through fall camp, it appears the talent level is higher than it has been in previous years across the board. With fullback Jay Prosch in the backfield providing blocks, the running game should flourish this fall.