Irons Steaming Full Speed Ahead

Tailback Kenny Irons talks about his success against Ball State and being the starter heading into this Saturday's game.

Auburn, Ala.--Tailback Kenny Irons was named Auburn's Offensive Player of the Week in the 63-3 win over Ball State on Saturday while grading at 100 percent on his assignments, as well as rushing for 147 yards and two scores.

Following his strong performance, running backs coach Eddie Gran named Irons as the starting tailback heading into next Saturday's game against Western Kentucky.

"Kenny brings some explosion to the position, and I think that Brad (Lester) does, too," says running backs coach Eddie Gran. "Right now I think we have found our starting tailback and Kenny Irons is the guy.."

Gran says Irons has moved up the running back depth chart from third team to first team because he is attacking the line of scrimmage with a physical style of play and because the junior has improved on his assignments. "He was 100 percent on those in the last game."

Kenny Irons has been on a roll since seeing very little action against Georgia Tech.

Irons had been waiting two years since transferring from South Carolina for a breakout game like the one he had Saturday, but says he was more excited about his assignment grade than the 147 yards he picked up all in the first half.

"The yards don't mean anything if you don't grade out good at the same time," he says. "That means that you didn't have good technique and you missed some assignments here and there. I'd rather have the 100 percent grade.

"Assignment wise I'm learning more. I'm showing coach that I know what I'm doing," he adds. "I know the blitz pick-ups. I know the running plays and the passing plays. When we go to the out personnel (two tailbacks) I know my routes. My assignments are great, and that's one thing that coach won't have to worry about."

Coach Gran and the rest of the coaches have been stressing effort and production in practice, which is one area that Irons says he has been improving on. Kenny says that he and his older brother, cornerback David Irons, were pushed at an early age to become good football players resulting in a bad attitude toward practice, but that has changed of late.

"Growing up, my dad had us practice when we were young, so we hated practice," Irons says. "We had to go work out at 6 a.m. We're young, we're little kids, everyone else is out having fun and we're doing football stuff. Then you go to a game and you have all of the people cheering you on. At practice you don't have all of the people cheering you on. Irons had only one carry in the season-opening loss to Georgia Tech, but has since improved on all of the little things, which is one reason his name is on the top of the depth chart.

"I'm blocking a lot better and being more physical," Irons says. "My cut blocking is something that I'm working on. When you get to the SEC teams the guys are going to be bigger and faster and it's not going to be that easy. You workout and you train all through the summer and for weeks and weeks just for 11 games, so you've got to put all of those weeks and weeks toward each game that you play."

After showing very little pulse for much of Saturday's game, Ball State will likely be the worst defensive team on the Auburn schedule in 2005, but Irons says that he would like to see the offensive production stay the same as the competition gets tougher.

"Western Kentucky is a faster team than Ball State," he says. "They have a lot of great linebackers and a great defensive front. We've got to approach it like Georgia or LSU or a Virginia Tech. We've just got to go out there and play. Like coach said, every drive we want to score. That's something that we want to do, and if we score on every drive and give 100 percent on every play then we'll be great."

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