Big Day For Small Back

Auburn redshirt freshman running back Brad Lester had a game to remember on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn had a 49-3 lead with 12:25 remaining in the fourth quarter when reserve tailback Brad Lester broke free into the Ball State secondary. Lester dodged tacklers and was dragged down 70 yards later at the Ball State 10-yard line on a play he could have scored on.

The redshirt freshman had run out of gas, but who could blame him. The quick back from Lilburn, Ga., had returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score in the third quarter, and had also scored another touchdown on the ground in the second quarter.

Following his 70-yard, Lester stayed in the game to finish the drive two plays later with a three-yard score, his third of the day.

"It's a team that we should score on and be productive against," he says. "We went out there and scored every drive so that shows that we're getting more productive and getting better as a team on offense and defense.

"It's a job for us," Lester continues. "It's our jobs on the line because after a few weeks they're only going to take two backs. All of us are going to be competitive and pick it up a step."

Lester looks back on his kickoff return for a touchdown.

Lester was one of five tailbacks who were impressive against the Cardinals, but position coach Eddie Gran is trying to cut it down to a two-man rotation. Gran says he was thrilled with Lester's play as a tailback and as a return man, which could potentially make him the number two back behind Kenny Irons, who rushed for 147 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.

"He's quick," Gran says of Lester. "He's just different out there. They have all got their different style, but he's just so quick and when he hits. He's got that acceleration. That was exciting to see for that kickoff return team. They've been fighting so hard and they did a great job. They did a really great job."

While Lester would be thrilled to move up to second-team on the depth chart, a major role on special teams is also one of his main goals as the season continues.

"I want to be out on special teams so I can help them," he says. "We're not going to get that many carries right now because they are so many of us. I'm going to get on the field however I can, and I asked coach (Gran) to put me out on all of the special teams. It just gives me a chance to show that I can do more than run the football."

Lester finished the game with 91 yards on only seven carries to give him 184 all-purpose yards for the game. His impressive 13-yard per carry average was only good for third on the team behind Tristan Davis' 24.5-yard average and Irons' 13.4-yard average. Davis had two carries for 49 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers as a team rushed for 390 on 35 carries for a ridiculous 11.1-yard average.

"The running lanes were real big," Lester says while rolling his eyes. "The offensive line--they've been working hard all week and they've been up here watching film all week early in the morning and getting up here and getting up here before everyone else and lifting weights after practice. They're making a big improvement and they're just trying to get better."


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