Freshman Hoping to Show Consistency

Redshirt freshman running back Brad Lester talks about winning SEC freshman of the week honors and his excitement after performing well in his first real playing time as a Tiger.

Auburn, Ala.-–Brad Lester says he isn't concerned with personal achievements.

Don't believe him. Just ask him when he found out he was named the SEC Freshman of the Week. It wasn't on Monday when the award was announced. Instead it came on Tuesday when his teammates began harassing him about winning the honor.

"I just heard about it in the locker room," Lester says. "They were making fun of me. I was like ‘What are you talking about?' That is the first time I had heard about it. It's pretty exciting, but that's last week. You just have to go back this week and do the same thing."

Following his week against Ball State it wasn't hard to figure out Lester would be a good candidate for the honor. Despite touching the football just eight times the redshirt freshman racked up 184 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns. Included in that was a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown for the Tigers since Tim Carter returned one for a score against LSU in 2000.

Lester says that when the ball was in the air he knew the unit had a chance for a big play because of where the ball was headed.

"I saw where they kicked it and when they kicked it in the corner and tried to bring everybody into the corner I pretty much knew if we had our blocking assignments right it was going to be a touchdown," Lester says. "When you put all 11 people in a corner like that you're going to have at least five people to wall them off. That's what we did."

Brad Lester breaks loose on a kickoff return for a touchdown.

A standout coming out of Parkview High in Lilburn, Ga., two years ago, Lester was bothered by a hamstring problem early in the 2004 season that eventually led to a redshirt. This spring and preseason was much of the same as injuries kept him out of a portion of two-a-days and put him behind in the race for the starting tailback job. Now healthy, Lester says that he is determined not to let anything stop him from doing his best this fall.

"It has (been frustrating), but the coaching staff allowed me to have my chances even though I was hurt," Lester says. "They told me I was still going to get my shot and they said if I go out there and produce like I can that I will get more reps."

Running the football at tailback, Lester showed the burst that the coaches were looking for out of the 191-pounder. A powerful player who is stronger than he looks, Lester says that he had a lot to prove and is happy that he earned more playing time because of his performance.

"I just wanted to go out there and pretty much show the coaching staff I could run the football here," Lester says. "They're giving me the opportunity to get more reps from what I'm hearing this week. That's all I'm trying to go out there and do is run the ball."

A player who is on all of Auburn's special teams, Lester can be busy on game day. He admits that he got tired in the Saturday afternoon heat last week at Jordan-Hare Stadium. On a 70-yard run he looked like he might score, but ran out of gas as he approached the goal line.

"I told Coach Gran, ‘Coach I was tired.' When you're playing all those special teams, punts and punt returns and kickoff returns, and then trying to go on offense that will get you a little tired."

Not one to rest on his laurels, Lester says that this week he'll have to be even better to show he should receive more playing time. With Irons holding down the starting job, the number two spot is up for grabs with Lester, Tre Smith and Carl Stewart competing for the playing time there. Lester says that if he takes care of business then everything will fall into place.

"You just have to go out and do the same things you did last week--juust produce and keep showing the coaches I can run the ball. Hopefully, they'll give me the opportunity to have the number two spot."


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