Fannin Eager To Show His Skills

Auburn's Mario Fannin discusses his role as the Auburn Tigers look to improve to 2-0.

Auburn, Ala.--With Brad Lester and Tristan Davis sidelined, redshirt freshman Mario Fannin was hoping to become a major contributor in Auburn's first game of the season.

However, that didn't happen for the tailback, who hopes to see that change this Saturday night when his Tigers play host to the South Florida Bulls.

"Sometimes you have got to go with experience," says Fannin, whose coaches chose to give all of the carries to sophomore Ben Tate and senior Carl Stewart in Auburn's 23-13 victory over Kansas State.

"You just have got to bounce back and learn," says Fannin, whose only touch of the football came on a kickoff return. "It was time for me to learn and watch the veterans do it and actually take some mental reps so it wasn't all that bad."

Fannin's coaches said they were not comfortable with the redshirt freshman's pass protection skills for game one and they note that explains why the 5-11, 220-pounder's time on the field in game one was limited to special teams. With Lester suspended indefinitely for academic reasons and Davis out with a broken bone in his foot, Fannin has a chance to help jump-start a running attacked that netted just 62 yards on Saturday night.

Asked if he expects to play tailback in game two, Fannin says, "Yes, sir. I am working hard in practice to make sure I have everything covered from A to Z.

"It is little minor things that I need to work on, but minor things can make major things happen so I am just working on those, basically," he adds.

Mario Fannin hopes to add his speed to the AU running attack.

Fannin admits it was "pretty tough" not playing more of a role on opening night, but has praise for the play of Tate and Stewart. "You just learn from it. Hopefully, this weekend I can get out there and help a little bit myself. You just have to support your teammates."

Saturday night's game vs. South Florida of the Big East will kick off shortly after 8 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium with television coverage on ESPN2. The Tigers will be looking to improve in all phases offensively. Fannin hopes to make the running game better. "Basically, we just need to be more aggressive," he says.

Fannin says once he lines up at the tailback slot, he has a definite goal. "Just to get out there and show the coaches they can trust me is the major thing," he says.

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