Photography: Mike Cortez

Auburn's Running Back Carries Up For Grabs

Auburn running back Jovon Robinson has a chance to continue his expanded role in the offense.

Jovon Robinson (above) averaged 5.1 yards per carry vs. Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming into Saturday’s game against Ole Miss, junior college transfer Jovon Robinson had only contributed four carries for 20 yards in two games for the Auburn Tigers. Yet with the Tigers’ three other running backs (Peyton Barber, Roc Thomas and Kerryon Johnson) slowed with various injuries, Robinson received his chance and made the most of it.

The junior from Memphis, Tenn., ran the football 18 times for 91 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Robinson’s performance earned him more playing time going forward, according to Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

“I thought he played really well,” Lashlee said of Robinson. “He had some really good, hard runs, good cuts, broke some tackles and most importantly held on to the football. He gave our run game a shot in the arm when we really needed it. He gave us a chance so he did a really good job.”

Barber, the regular starter, was dinged up after last week’s four-overtime contest at Arkansas where he carried the football 37 times. Prior to the Ole Miss game the sophomore had run for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns on a heavy workload. Barber has averaged 22.5 carries per game this season.

“He’s okay,” Lashlee said on Sunday night. “I don’t think he’s any worse for it. He was sore and didn’t get to practice much last week. He showed some toughness and tried to give it a go, but just wasn’t quite himself. I don’t think there’s any long-term effects.”

Photography: Mike Cortez

Jovon Robinson runs the football vs. the Rebels.

Redshirt junior offensive tackle Shon Coleman said he wasn’t surprised that Robinson ran the ball well vs. Ole Miss. “Obviously, we had to change up a couple of things, but no matter who we have back there we have confidence in them. I think Jovon played hard and came in and did his thing.”

Lashlee noted that with four “tough, physical games” remaining on the schedule the running opportunities would be given to the hottest, healthiest backs.

“We’re comfortable with them all playing,” he said. “We won’t necessarily try to split it, per se, we’re going to need them both, and we’re going to need K.J. and Roc as well. Sometimes it’s the hot hand. Jovon was the hot hand there in the third quarter and we stayed with him, especially with Peyton probably not being full speed.”

The TIgers have until Saturday to heal and prepare as they take on the Texas A&M Aggies. Kickoff is set for shorty after 6:30 p.m. CST in College Station, Tex., and the game will be televised by the SEC Network.

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