Hot Irons Strikes Early For Offense

Tailback Kenny Irons set the tone on Wednesday with a big play on the first snap of the scrimmage.

Auburn, Ala.–-Kenny Irons has waited a full year to get on the field in a SEC game once again and Wednesday morning he took another step towards that goal as the Auburn Tigers held their first preseason scrimmage on the intramural fields . It didn't take long for Irons to make his presence felt as his 68-yard catch and run from Brandon Cox set the stage for a good day by the offense.

"It was a lot of fun," Irons said of the first play. "I wish it was David (his brother who is a cornerback for the Tigers) out there that came up because I was going to run him over if he was out there. It was (Eric) Brock and I had to break a tackle. Coach (Eddie Gran) always says ‘make one guy miss' and that's what I did. With great blocking from the offensive line it gave Brandon the opportunity to get the pass off. It was a great throw by Brandon right down the hash. I made the catch and made things happen from there."

Irons has been making plays since arriving on the Auburn campus two springs ago from South Carolina. Originally recruited by the Tigers out of Dacula, Ga. High, Irons chose the Gamecocks because David was supposed to be a running back for Auburn out of high school. Junior college football changed that and by then Irons was already in Columbia.

Things didn't work out like he had hoped for USC as Irons and Lou Holtz didn't see eye to eye on playing time for the two seasons he was part of the program. He eventually wound up at Auburn with his brother, who both should see extensive action this season. Kenny said that with his new body (up to 205 pounds) he's ready to get the season underway against hometown team Georgia Tech.

Irons drags defenders towards the goal line in Wednesday's scrimmage.

"I feel like more of a complete back," Irons said. "It gives me an opportunity to slow down more and see what's going on. I really can't do much running right now because I strained my quad and my IT band. That's going to hold me back to do what I want to do for a while, but like coach said ‘if you're in the training room you're no help to us on the field'. I'm just going to fight through the injury and come out here and help the team out. I just want to give the coach good looks so when that first game comes I'm mentally prepared."

Wednesday morning was a day of execution for the offense as Cox had two touchdown passes in addition to the throw to Irons that went all the way to the one-yard line. Along with Carl Stewart and Brad Lester, Irons had a good day both running and catching the football out of the backfield, something the Tigers did well last season with Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. He said that the scrimmage was a confidence builder for the unit that is breaking in a new quarterback in Cox.

"It went pretty well with a lot of guys playing with injuries and bruises and things like that," Irons said. "We started off fast. After my catch Carl had a great run and obviously if this would have been a real game it would been my catch, Carl gets the ball, touchdown. It would have been a two-play drive and that's coming out fast. Coach (Al) Borges stresses we've got to come off fast. We've got a great offensive line that blocks well. Brandon Cox has taken on more of a leadership role. He's taking control of the offense and he's shown us that he can be a leader and a guy we can look for when big games come."

The offense now looks towards Saturday's second scrimmage to see continued improvement in all facets of the game. Irons said it's important that they keep playing well while adding new things to the offense because they have a chance to be a special unit this season if everything falls into place.

"As we continue to put in things everybody gets to learn everything," Irons said. "Instead of people thinking a lot, it will be second-nature for them. They can just go out there and run the play. If blitz comes in they'll know to pick up their blitz. We have a talented team and the players know what they have. We've got great wide receivers, running backs, offensive line and quarterbacks that can get the ball to the receivers. After two-a-days start winding down they'll know what to do and I'm pretty sure we'll have a great team."

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