“One thing that is really important is our H-back position,” Lashlee said. “Two years ago we had Jay Prosch, he was the best in the country. Last year we had Brandon Fulse, it wasn’t necessarily his natural fit but he did a good job for us ,and C.J. at times, but we lost those guys.”
Without the pair of veteran tight ends Auburn needed to try to develop someone to take over the spot at the end of last season and that meant turning to Pettway, a move that actually began during bowl practices in December. Signed as a running back out of Prattville High, Pettway had similar size and skills to former Tiger Eric Smith, which made him an obvious player to get a look. Never shying away from contact while sharing the load for the Lions in high school, Pettway said for him the transition to the new role has been an easy one.
“It’s been a great transition to H-back,” Pettway said. “Right now, I’m just learning the plays and working my hardest at it.
“It wasn’t tough at all,” he added. “I just figured it was the best way to get on the field and I went for it.”
Now weighing in at 245 pounds, but still with running back skills, Pettway can bring an added dimension to the position because of his ability to get to the edge and make plays in the passing game. With Cox also a talented receiver, Pettway said he thinks that could be a big boost for the offense this fall.
“I think the H-back will see a lot more throws with me and Chandler and the other H-backs coming in,” Pettway said. “I think I have pretty good hands. I catch a lot of passes at practice and I work a lot after practice also on on catching passes.”
Perhaps the toughest part of the move for most running backs would be the lack of touches in the running game. Everybody that’s a competitor wants a chance to show what they can do and Pettway is no different, but in the end it’s all about winning football games and for him that’s the primary goal.
“I’m alright with not getting a lot of carries,” Pettway said. “It’s just whatever helps the team out.”
That’s exactly the attitude that it takes for a team to be successful, and it also takes competition. While he’s fighting for a spot in the offense himself, Pettway knows it’s going to take Cox for the group to reach its full potential next season and he doesn’t have any doubts about the newcomer.
“I think Chandler Cox is a great athlete and he’s going to push me a lot to get the best out of me,” Pettway said. “He’s a great athlete. He can catch the ball well. He’s pretty quick. He’s a little physical also.”
He’s not at a position that gets a lot of attention when things are going good, but there is no question that Pettway is poised to have a big part in Auburn’s success in 2015. That’s something that could be good news for the Tigers said Lashlee because of what Pettway brings to the table.
“Kamryn is so athletic,” Lashlee said. “For a big guy, he's very athletic. He's light on his feet. He's very physical and I think he's got a chance to really help us there. He's transitioning well so far.”