Walk-on Fullback Making Move for Playing Time

An Auburn football report features running back Andrew Turman.

Auburn, Ala.--After years of waiting for his opportunity for prime-time action, Andrew Turman has an excellent chance to be a key member of the 2006 Auburn football team's offense.

Eddie Gran, the running backs coach, and offensive coordinator Al Borges are looking for a hard-nosed blocker to fill the role handled so well by 2005 senior Jake Slaughter.

"Yes, it is exciting for me," says Turman, who is getting plenty of reps with the first team offense when the Tigers run from the traditional "I" formation.

Borges says if Turman or any of the other fullbacks prove they can block like Slaughter, they will be on the field in important situations this season. "How often we run the "I" formation depends on how effectively the fullbacks block," Borges says. "We want our best players on the field."

Turman is quite aware of his assignment. The glamour job of running the football will be handled by players like All-SEC tailback Kenny Irons and others. Turman's job is to get the Tiger ball carriers a chance to get back to the line of scrimmage with momentum, allowing them to do both minor and major damage to opposing defenses. Pass blocking is also a major assignment.

When asked what he needs to do to be successful this year, the redshirt junior says, "When I get in there just try to relax. I know all of my assignments. I know what to do. It is just a matter of doing it--staying low and being physical."

Andrew Turman lines up in front of tailback Kenny Irons (23) during a two-a-days practice.

At 6-0, 235 pounds, Turman isn't a particularly large fullback, but has had a good preseason as a blocker. "I would say 235 is a good weight for me," he points out. "I am fast enough and I am big enough. If I weigh any more, I am a little bit sluggish."

Looking at the overall offense, Turman says he has high hopes for the coming season. "We are as good as we want to be. We have an awesome offensive line and great coaching. We have a pretty experienced backfield and experienced receivers. We have (Brandon) Cox back. We are going to be just as good as we want to be."

Looking at the running back group, the fullback says the Tigers have proven performers to carry the football so that should be a position of strength for the 2006 team. At fullback, he is competing with fellow walk-ons Stephen Gowland and Danny Perry along with Michael McLaughlin, a scholarship player who is coming off a knee injury and is not 100 percent yet.

Turman would like to finish his career on a championship note. He won state titles in high school at Hoover as a sophomore and senior and played on Hoover High's state runnerup team as a junior.

After high school he enrolled at Auburn as a walk-on and has worked his way up from a scout team unknown to a potential opening night starter this season.

"It was harder at the beginning, but once you get going and people see what you can do it isn't as hard," he says of being a walk-on. "You can't think of yourself as a walk-on because you kind of lessen yourself compared to everybody else so I just think of myself as equal and try to go out there and play like that."

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