The good news for the Tigers is that redshirt freshman Kamryn Pettway and true freshman Chandler Cox have both come on strong going back to spring practice and should be good replacements at the position. Throw in talented freshman Jalen Harris as well as Chris Laye and there is some potential help at tight end as well. Potential is the key word however as Coach Gus Malzahn said on Saturday because the experience lost may be the key, especially early.
“We were really good at some things last year at that position,” Malzahn said. “The key last year is we had experience, game experience, and we could make adjustments. Those guys were very smart. These guys are young guys and they are still learning the offense. The first game you always worry about adjustments because the first game is all about adjustments.
“You look at film all last year with their tendencies and your tendencies and then you get out there in the first quarter and figure out what’s going to happen. The key to a first game to be successful, I believe, is being able to adjust to what they give you.
“We’re going to have a bunch of young guys and our young guys are going to have to grow up and be able to adjust.”
Pettway is one of the players at the center of things for Auburn’s offense.
Kamryn Pettway has the look of an NFL fullback
A physical back coming out of Prattville, Pettway transitioned to his new role during bowl practices and it has been a smooth move for him. Now over 240 pounds and not afraid of contact, he said for him it is fun to think about finally getting on the field and being able to help his team win games.
“I’m very excited,” Pettway said. “I’ve been patiently waiting my redshirt year to try and be the best you can be.
“I feel very comfortable with my role at H-back,” he added. “During the spring, my head was spinning a little bit but I feel very comfortable right now.”
Saying that he’s still working on improving his pass blocking, Pettway said his favorite part of his new position is being physical. That’s music to the ears for an Auburn offense that missed that part of the game last season following the loss of Jay Prosch. Now with two players capable of playing a similar role as Prosch did in 2013, Malzahn said now it’s just a matter of finding the best ways to use them in the offense.
“I really think he’s getting more comfortable at that position,” Malzahn said. “That’s a very important position, as well you know. We ask that guy to do a lot of different things, he’s got to block, he’s got to catch the football, he’s got to block in space, he’s got to protect.
“The fact that he played tailback in high school, I really think has helped him. Chandler Cox is another guy that is very similar. Both of those guys are young and can do a lot of different things.”
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