Irons, who went into Saturday's game with a sore knee and a bruised thigh, says he had to take extra measures to protect himself from the University of Kentucky defense in Auburn's 49-27 victory over the Wildcats.
"Antoine Huffman, who is the (Kentucky) strong safety, we played rec ball together in East Point, Ga.," Irons says. "He was telling my dad, ‘Yeah, man, they are trying to kill you out there so he was saying I guess their coach told them to take out key players early and they would have a chance.
"This dude went straight for my left knee and took me out for a couple plays. I was like, ‘dang.'"
Irons says he believes some of the defensive players were trying to knock him out of the game. "I can tell when the defense is trying to take somebody out. On some plays when they could have hit me high, they went straight for my legs."
Irons says he told the other tailbacks, Tre Smith and Tristan Davis to be careful, because the defenders were going after the knees of the running backs. "Tre showed me these bruises all over his knees and stuff where they were trying to get him and I was like, ‘wow, ‘this is crazy.' We just have to handle it."
Irons, who has rushed for 923 yards this season, says he attributed the tactics to being "just football." He adds, "You do what you have to do to win, basically. You just have to be able to handle it. You have got to know what to do--not stay up too long when a guy grabs you. You can't stay up too long and take a cheap shot."
Irons finds running room vs. Kentucky.
The junior says no other team had ever done that to him. "Just Kentucky," he says. "They have got nothing to lose so hey they may as well try to take somebody down with them, but not me. They didn't take me down."
Irons says he changed the way he ran to protect himself. "I tried not to stay up as long," he says, noting that he was concerned that a defender would go for his knees while he was trying to fight for extra yardage.
Irons says at Sunday's practice he was stiff from a blow he took on Saturday. He got hit on the ankle with a helmet, but says he will be ready for Saturday's key SEC game vs. Georgia. "I will be straight," he says. "I will get treatment this week. Arnold (trainer Arnold Gamber) says he has a plan for me and I will get my legs back underneath me. Like Coach Tubs (Tommy Tuberville) says, he wants everybody to live in the training room. That is what I will be doing this week so I can get back to at least 90 to 95 percent so I can be full speed against Georgia."