UGA Game For "Bragging Rights," Lester Says

Comments from redshirt freshman tailback Brad Lester are featured as he prepares for a big SEC showdown with the Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--Brad Lester says he would have loved to join the rush party on Saturday in Lexington as Tiger running backs racked up 388 ground yards vs. the Kentucky Wildcats, but the redshirt freshman tailback says the decision to keep him off the field for another week was probably a wise one.

However, he admits it was "especially tough" to stay home on the Auburn campus and do rehab while his teammates racked by 589 yards of total offense in a 49-27 victory at Kentucky.

"I watched the film and there were some nice holes to run through," Lester notes.

The tailback says he could have probably played effectively vs. the Wildcats after having a good week of practice as he is in what he hopes are the final stages of rehab from a groin injury suffered on Oct. 15th in Auburn's victory at Arkansas.

Head coach Tommy Tuberville says the call was made to give the former starting tailback one extra week to get ready because everybody will be needed to play at a high level against a Georgia team that comes into Saturday night's game ranked ninth nationally with a 7-1 record.

"It was the smartest move the coaches made," Lester says of the decision to make him wait one more week to get back into game action. "It will have me healthier for the next big game vs. Georgia."

Known for his quick bursts through the defense, the tailback from Parkview High in Lilburn, Ga., is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has scored five touchdowns on 43 running plays.

"Right now I am not slow at all," Lester says. "I feel good. I will be able to tell more after we go through the week and I actually go through running a whole bunch of plays, but I will be ready to go on Saturday. I have been looking forward to this game."

Lester notes that he attended football camps at Georgia going back to elementary school and was interested in playing college football for the Bulldogs. However, he was turned off by UGA his junior year when he was told they planned to offer him a scholarship to play cornerback and Lester was only interested in being a tailback.

The tailback notes that playing the Bulldogs is as big to him as playing in the Iron Bowl game is for Auburn players who grew up in the state of Alabama.

In Lester's absence, Kenny Irons has developed into one of the top tailbacks in the league. The junior rushed for three scores at Kentucky and had his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Brad Lester is a threat as a kickoff returner and running back.

Lester says there is absolutely no jealously with Irons doing a great job while he has been sidelined. He notes the competition for playing time is friendly between the tailbacks who have known each other since Lester was a 10th grader when the two worked out together that summer.

"It's not a big deal because we are friends," Lester says. "He keeps me up and I keep him up."

Lester adds, "I am real happy he is doing well. I know all of what he went through (at South Carolina) before he came here and how bad he has wanted to run the ball."

Auburn and Georgia will square off at 6:45 p.m. CST Saturday in Athens, Ga., in a game televised by ESPN. The Tigers have to win to stay in the hunt for the SEC West title. Georgia can clinch the SEC East championship with a victory.

However, records aside, it is important to Lester because of who the Tigers are playing. "It is pretty much for bragging rights," he says. "When you go home, you have to hear everybody talking about it. We have already lost to Georgia Tech, we can't lose to Georgia, too. I am already one in the hole."

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