Grant's Emergence A Boost To Auburn Run Game

Auburn running back Corey Grant is happy to finally be getting his shot to show what he can for for the Tigers' offense.

Auburn, Ala.--It was a long time coming for Auburn junior running back Corey Grant, but in the Tigers' season opener against Washington State his opportunity finally arrived.

After starting his college experience at Alabama before transferring to be closer to home, Grant sat out the 2011 season as a redshirt and found himself back in a pro-style offense once again when Gene Chizik hired Scott Loeffler to run things last year.

With a change in coaching staffs came a chance at success for Grant as Gus Malzahn's no-huddle attack looked to be the perfect fit for the Opelika speedster. Saturday night that was proven to be true as Grant exploded for a 75-yard touchdown run on one of his nine carries as he finished with 146 yards to lead the team.

Carrying the ball just nine times for 29 yards the entire 2012 season, Grant said that it was fun to finally get his shot to make a play. "It was a great opportunity Coach Malzahn gave me," he said. "After putting in all this hard work, it's finally paying off.

"After the game, it kind of hit me," Grant added. "I was kind of happy also because after all the hard work and everybody always says hard work pays off. I see that it does."

Part of a three-man rotation at the position, Grant provides a home run threat for the offense. One of the fastest players on the Auburn team, he said that while his speed definitely helps him make plays he also credits the work he has done in the weight room in making him a better player.

"It helps out a lot," Grant says of the nearly 30 added pounds of muscle he's added. "Even having a lot of speed, having strength, too, it helps out a lot to break tackles and get through piles and things like that."

Saying he feels like it is a new beginning for him in Malzahn's offense, Grant is excited about his possibilities this season. While he's not likely to top the 100-yard mark every week because that depends on how teams play defense against the Tigers, Grant said he is ready to do his part to help the team win games.

"What I do well is using my speed, but from week to week coach is going to utilize me differently," Grant said. "It's just whatever the game plan is."

His emergence in the offense is a boost to perhaps the strongest part of the Auburn team in 2013, the running game. Already with 1,000-yard rusher Tre Mason and junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne available at the position, Malzahn said having three guys is a luxury especially since all three can do different things.

"Those three guys are very unique," Malzahn said. "Cameron Artis-Payne is a big guy, but he has some explosiveness to him, too. Tre Mason has a little bit of both. He can run inside and he can have speed. Corey can run and Corey has gotten stronger."

Auburn will need all three against an improving Arkansas State defensive unit. The Red Wolves have not allowed an opponent to top the 100-yard mark in six consecutive regular season games, something Grant and the Tigers are looking to change Saturday night.

Kickoff on Saturday night is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Net.

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