Coach Tommy Tuberville says it is too early to know if the change is a permanent one. "We just have three healthy tailbacks for preseason practice until Tre Smith gets back, and that is not enough," he says.
Tristan Davis is shown at a summer workout.
Smith, the projected starter, had emergency surgery one week ago to remove his appendix. The redshirt junior is at the top of the tailback depth chart ahead of junior Kenny Irons, sophomore Carl Stewart and redshirt freshman Brad Lester.
Davis, a 5-10, 200-pounder from Tri-Cities High in East Point, Ga., rushed for 837 yards and five touchdowns as a high school senior. However, Auburn recruited him to play defense. He made 142 tackles as an All-State senior.
Tuberville says that Davis has the type of speed needed to give the defense a good look in practice and the quickness to be successful as a back if the move is made permanent.
Tuberville met with offensive coordinator Al Borges and running backs coach Eddie Gran on Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of moving another player to tailback. The head coach says Davis is willing to give the new position a try. "It will be interesting to see how he does there," Tuberville adds.
Smith says he is feeling good a week after his surgery. Tuberville says the tailback should be able to resume training next week and will likely be on the practice field the week after that.
Tuberville says he expects Smith to be ready to play for the Sept. 3rd opener vs. Georgia Tech.