Georgia RB Duo May Start Vs. Bulldogs

A report on the Auburn football Tigers features an update on the running backs and special teams.

Auburn, Ala.--A pair of running backs from Georgia will be counted on Saturday by Auburn assistant football coach Eddie Gran as the Tigers try to upset the Georgia Bulldogs.

Senior Tristan Davis is expected to start at fullback and redshirt sophomore Mario Fannin could start at tailback, the running backs coach says.

"I like the effort of Mario Fannin," Gran says. "I like what he is doing. He has really come along in the last three weeks. Last week he got a pretty good dose of it--30 or more snaps.

"I think he is finally feeling comfortable at the running back position being moved from receiver," Gran adds. "His effort, his production, could allow him to start this week."

Fannin was moved from running back to tailback after having offseason shoulder surgery because of concerns about how the shoulder would hold up with the pounding running backs take. With injuries affecting the tailbacks, he moved back to that position last month.

Gran says the key for Fannin to improve is to run less "east and west" and make better choices in picking his running lanes when he has options on where to take the football. "He is hitting it more downhill now and he just brings a spark because of his energy."

Davis, who began the year at tailback, has primarily become a blocker although Gran says he could get the ball as a runner or receiver on Saturday.

"He has been playing the fullback position for us and has filled in and done a nice job there," Gran says. "He is going to play at that position this week for us and his help on special teams has obviously made a huge impact for us again this year."

Tristan Davis has overcome foot and hamstring problems plus a concussion this season.

Davis, who has two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season, took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a score last week despite not being full speed with a hamstring problem.

"You would love to see that kid one year be full go, full speed," says of Davis. "I don't think he has been full speed at any one point this year, but he just keeps battling, keeps going. He is going to give you everything he has."

Another running back from Georgia, senior Brad Lester, has been battling a knee injury suffered in the LSU game and he will play along with junior Ben Tate, who is back to full speed after playing with a hamstring problem earlier this year.

"When you go through this season somebody has been banged up at some point in time," Gran says. "They are not all 100 percent, but it doesn't matter. In a game like this you just go. We will get ready this week to see what happens."

Gran, who is also in charge of special teams, says that phase of the game will be huge vs. Georgia. Morgan Hull, the sophomore walk-on, will get the kickoff assignment ahead of Wes Byrum, who will continue to kick field goals.

Morgan Hull

"He is better," Gran says on his decision to kick Hull this week. "He puts in it the spot where we want it and his hang time has been better. Those are the two biggest things. There is a big difference between a 4.0 (seconds) and a 4.1 hang time than a 3.6 and a 3.7--a huge difference. That is what Hull has brought to the table for us, just a little more production and in practice, too. It was good to get him in last week to let him get back into that game atmosphere."

Auburn and Georgia will play Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for shortly after 11:30 a.m. with TV coverage on Raycom Sports.

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