Tate and RBs Having Fun

Ben Tate talks to Inside the Auburn Tigers about his performance against Vanderbilt as well as the return of Brad Lester.

Auburn, Ala.--Last year the redshirt was taken off Ben Tate because of nicks and dings to Kenny Irons and Brad Lester. Then at the beginning of his sophomore year he was just one of two healthy and eligible tailbacks for the first five games, but with the return of Lester against Vanderbilt the Tigers finally have a full cupboard of backs to carry the rock.

"It's a big difference," Tate explains. "I still feel really fresh. I'm not beat up and I'm ready to go. I could play another game right now. It's a good thing helping our bodies out along the season."

He had just nine carries, but grinded out 96 yards on the ground including the first touchdown of the game and a 44-yarder against the grain later in the first quarter.

"The line just opened up the hole," he says of his long burst. "I saw the defense overflowing and one of the guys was crossing my station and I just cut it back and it was off to the races."

Vanderbilt defender Myron Lewis had the angle on Tate and was able to cut him off after 44 yards.

Lester finished with 77 yards and two scores and Fannin added 54 yards and a touchdown. The trio of backs also caught four passes for 33 yards.

Back when Tate committed to Auburn out of Snow Hill High School in Maryland, it was after watching Al Borges exploiting the strengths of Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown in the same backfield. Tate says that's what he's starting to see with Fannin and Lester joining him in the rotation.

"As we go on you'll probably see us do a lot more things with the running backs," he notes. "That's the fun thing. We get to catch balls, block and it just shows what we can do as running backs--the complete package.

"We're out there competing with each other and it's fun," Tate adds. "It's fun to see everybody score touchdowns. (Lester) is a great addition. He's a pretty good back and he keeps us more fresh if you see how many big plays we had as a group."

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