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Dec 17, 2017
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  Football Preview: Running Backs and Offensive Line

Gus Malzahn's offenses and Auburnís traditional offense have one thing in common ó they like to run the ball. For the Tigers this fall, there will be new faces carrying the pigskin and some new players blocking for them.

Jovon Robinson entered the offseason as the expected workhorse of the running backs after 2015 leading rusher Peyton Barber opted out of coming back to the Plains. Robinsonís spot of go-to back became only clearer when 2015 season-opening starting tailback Roc Thomas announced his plans to transfer.

Robinson last season started living up to the hype he had built coming into his junior year. The 5-star JUCO transfer rushing for 639 yards in eight games, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He scored three touchdowns.

Barber got more than twice as many touches as Robinson, though he did play five more games and start for the Tigers. The reason for Robinsonís lack of carries came due partly to an early- season injury, but youíd have to ask Malzahn where the carries were in the second half of the year.

With Thomas departed, sophomore Kerryon Johnson will likely have his number called often. He rushed for 208 yards last year and scored three touchdowns taking a majority of his carries from the wildcat possession. Though Johnson was not in a traditional set, his athleticism gave fans something to cheer about.

Incoming freshman Malik Miller has the possibility to get some carries, but one direction Malzahn is expected to take is getting H-backs Chandler Cox and Kamryn Pettway more carries. Cox showed his potential during the spring A-Day game when he broke a long run down the sideline.

For the guys up front, the Tigers are replacing tackles Shon Coleman and Avery Young and center Devonte Danzey. Itíll be no easy task, but Auburn does have guards Alex Kozan and Braden Smith returning.

At center, the Tigers are expected to look to Austin Golson. Robert Leff and Darius James are leading the way for the two tackle positions. Marquel Harrell, Mike Horton and Xavier Dampeer are expected to compete for starting jobs.

Auburnís rushing attack is vital if thereís going to be any kind of success in 2016. Last yearís team managed to average only 196.4 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. Saying that, the Tigers also had two of three backs go down with injuries. If Auburn can avoid the injury bug this fall in the trenches and backfield, the Tigers could put up some touchdowns. If not, it might be a long season.

Brandon Miller

Coming July 25: Defensive Line

Newcomers

Quarterbacks and Receivers

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