Auburn, Ala.--Injured early in a road win at Mississippi State for the Auburn Tigers, sophomore running back Kerryon Johnson is resting a sprained ankle this week as Coach Gus Malzahn’s team has Saturday off. Getting ready for the Arkansas Razorbacks coming up next Saturday, Malzahn said right now it’s all about getting healthy this week and that starts with Auburn’s leading rusher.
“We’re hoping we get him back,” Malzahn said of Johnson. “We’ll probably know more when we get to next week, when we get to Sunday. We’re just trying to be smart with him and get him as much treatment as we can this week. We’ll know more probably Sunday when we get back.”
Leading the team with 538 yards rushing and six touchdowns, Johnson is joined by bruiser Kamryn Pettway to give the Tigers a strong one-two punch, but after that there is a whole lot of inexperience at the position for the Tigers.
Fourth on the team in rushing with 90 yards on 17 carries, former wide receiver turned running back Stanton Truitt is a player the Tigers are gaining confidence in daily. Also with speedster Kameron Martin in the mix as well, currently with 64 yards on 16 carries, Malzahn said this bye week is huge for both players as they continue to gain experience at the position.
“This week is a critical week for those two guys,” he said. “This is a good week. They’re getting a majority of the reps. Stanton has a lot of natural ability at running back. He’s got some big-play ability as does Kameron Martin.
“He’s very quick and it’s good to get him some carries before the second half of the season,” Malzahn added of Truitt. “I think both of those guys are in a good spot. This week has been really good for them in getting a lot of reps.”
Defining Balance On Offense
Malzahn has always talked about the need to be balanced on offense, but his teams rarely get to that point in terms of either yards or number of running plays to passing plays. This season for example the Tigers have 328 runs to just 150 pass attempts, but in total yardage Auburn has 1,577 on the ground and 1,298 through the air.
When asked how he defines balance, the fourth-year head coach said it comes down to several factors in his mind.
“I think balance is being able to throw the football when they give it to you and be able to run it when they give it to you,” he said. “If you look at our yardage it has been pretty good as far as run-pass it concerned.
“Balance usually means more of what they’re giving you. Just casual fans you think balance and everything has to be equal to carries to the passes, but a lot of times it’s more of what they’re giving you and more of total yardage and how it’s dispersed also.”