Luper Likes What He Sees From Dyer

Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper talks about Mike Dyer and Auburn's runners in their victory over Mississippi State.

Starkville, Ala.--Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper said that his prized freshman tailback helped his stock on Thursday night.

Michael Dyer, a 5-9, 216-pounder from Little Rock, Ark., got a chance to carry the ball with the game on the line in the fourth quarter and responded with a good performance.

"It was big, and I'm proud of him," Luper said. "That is a tough, tough time to come into a football game and produce, and he did.

"With him playing and playing well in that situation, I think that it will really build his confidence in himself, and ours in him," Luper said. "And I think you will see him more."

Dyer looked like he was the most effective tailback at gaining yardage after contact in Auburn's 17-14 victory over Mississippi State. Commenting on that, Luper said, "It seems like it. I haven't watched the video, but a lot of what he is doing is just natural talent right now. We've got a little time between now and, the next game to really get him ready."

Curtis Luper is shown in Starkville on Thursday night.

Asked if the freshman is pushing for the starting job, especially with Mario Fannin injuring his shoulder vs. the Bulldogs, Luper said, "I have got to watch the video, but he is going to play, and he is going to play more."

Commenting on Fannin's shoulder, Luper said, "I don't know. I know about as much as you guys. But I do know that he is tough. He came back in, and in and out and in and out, so I don't know exactly what the injury was. But he's tough, he'll be back."

Onterio McCalebb finished the game with 12 carries for 68 yards, but missed opportunities for much more yardage due to slips almost every time he touched the football.

"Yeah…I was just like ‘can you stop falling?,' because he could've scored," Luper said of the sophomore speedster. I don't know if it was just the turf or just going a little too fast. I don't know what the issue was, but there was about three or four times when he went down and he could've had some big runs."

Asked if he sees improvement on the horizon for the Auburn offense, Luper said, "Oh no question. I mean we go on the road in a hostile environment and against a defense that does a lot of things, and I mean we lost a couple of key cogs tonight in Lee Ziemba and Mario Fannin, but we had some guys step in and play pretty well. But, oh yeah, no question, we'll get a lot better, and we will learn from today. The good thing is that our defense played great for us tonight, and we had to lean on them today."

Luper said the running game needs to improve and will. "Oh yeah. We'll get better. We've got to get better quickly because Clemson will be in town in about ten days."

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