Pumped Irons Ready To Run

Kenny Irons rushed for 1,293 yards as a junior, but is facing higher expectations and is reaching for higher goals in 2006.

Auburn, Ala.--With kickoff to the 2006 season against Washington State less than a week away, Kenny Irons says that he's starting to get that feeling.

"It's going to be crazy," Irons says. "I just can't wait."

After the demanding offseason workouts under the direction of Coach Kevin Yoxall, spring training, summer voluntary sessions and two-a-days the time is getting closer and closer for Irons' senior season.

"You can see it in some guys," he says. "It's something you practice every day for and you prepare yourself for. Going through Coach Yox's workouts during the summer you're like, ‘Man, I wish it was game week.' But now it's here and what are you going to do? It's exciting. When Thursday comes and Friday, it's like, ‘We've got a game Saturday!'"

Irons' name has been thrown around in all of the offseason Heisman Trophy talk and he's been picked by many as a preseason All-American, but he is keeping his personal goals to himself for now.

"I've got some, but nothing major. Nothing big," he notes. "It's something I keep to myself because it's something that--I don't know--I might not reach. I don't want to say anything."

Having done photo shoots and interviews with the media as well as having lofty expectations set on him, Irons says he's been able to take it in stride and keep his eyes on winning football games.

"It's been fun and I've had a great time," he says. "I know I'm not going to lose sight of what's ahead and I can still stay focused. I can get game ready. Like we say every day in practice, you have to be game ready. I know when those lights come on and it's game time that I'm not going to lose focus of what this team has to accomplish."

However, the offseason hasn't been all fun for Irons. They coaches put the players through more contact this August than they have in recent years. To get their legs well-rested, the Tigers were off on Saturday and Monday plus there won't be much contact the rest of the week.

"I've felt a huge difference," he says. "We're a lot more tired than we were before. We realize how hard the season is going to be on us knowing that we're ranked No. 4 in one poll and No. 6 in another.

"You've got to grind during the season, so why not grind harder during the offseason? Coming into the season it might make it a little easier because you're like, ‘Wow, I've grinded harder than this in two-a-days.'"

Irons and his teammates open the season at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday as the Tigers face the Washington State Cougars at Jordan-Hare Stadium in a game that will be televised by ESPN2.

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