Auburn, Ala.--Following a very good spring when both showed the ability to be viable options running the football for the Auburn Tigers, Kamryn Pettway and Chandler Cox enter the 2016 season as perhaps two of the most important players on offense this season.
While Jovon Robinson is expected to shoulder the load at running back for the Tigers and Kerryon Johnson has bulked up since last year, the lack of depth at the positio, especially with big backs, makes both Pettway and Cox players who could be counted on to help carry the load this fall.
A tailback at Prattville High School who rushed for more than 1,000 yards each season as a junior and senior, Pettway has bulked up but still has the speed and elusiveness to get the job done if called on to run the football and th,at could happen more than most expect this season.
Playing wildcat quarterback, linebacker and even safety in high school, Cox transitioned to the fullback/H-Back position a year ago and with a season of experience under his belt he should be ready to take his game to the next level.
Chandler Cox should get more time at fullback this season.
Best Case Scenario: With both guys capable of being playmakers on offense in addition to their blocking duties, Pettway and Cox could be huge additions for an offense that figures to have a solid running game to build around. With questions surrounding the passing game, having a pair of guys as dependable safety valves out of the backfield could really add an extra dimension for the Tigers.
Worst Case Scenario: Auburn hasn’t given fullbacks or tight end many touches in the last few years even though that has been a talking point several times entering a new season. Once again it will be a focal point for the Tigers as they get ready for a new season, but unless Malzahn and company willingly commit to getting Pettway and Cox more involved it remains to be seen just how much impact they can have.
Career Comparison: Having two players the caliber of Pettway and Cox at the same time is something that makes it hard to get production from both, but in 1993 both Tony Richardson and Reid McMillan played key roles for an undefeated Auburn team. Even though this offense is much different than the one the Tigers put on the field more 20 years ago, it’s easy to see both Pettway and Cox getting enough touches in addition to their duties as blockers to make an impact on Auburn’s offense this season and beyond.
Quote: “Both of them have been very good,” running backs coach Tim Horton said. “I'm very pleased with both of them. I think they bring a certain element of toughness to the position that we needed. They're fall-forward backs. They're going to get yards after contact. They're going to move the chains. I've been pleased with both of them.
“I am real pleased with both of them. I don't think there's any question you will get to see them carry the ball a whole lot more than what they did last year, because at fullback, they didn't really carry it much at all.”