Freshman Running Backs Making Progress

A report on Auburn's two freshmen running backs is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--After spring training it was obvious there was going to be an opportunity for playing time at the running back positions for Auburn's two incoming freshman who arrived on campus this summer.

With the Tigers finished with the "camp" portion of preseason football practice, running backs coach Curtis Luper says that heavily-recruited newcomer Michael Dyer and not-so-heavily-recruited newcomer Ladarious Phillips are making progress.

Dyer made several impressive runs in Auburn's third preseason scrimmage on Tuesday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

"He was good," Luper says of the Under Armour All-American tailback from Little Rock, Ark. "He is strong, he is hard to tackle and he is getting comfortable in the offense."

Dyer is shown in a footwork drill.

Phillips, a fullback from Handley High in Roanoke, is a player who got a late scholarship offer from the Tigers and has been one of the more interesting freshmen in the 2010 signee class. He converted a third and one in the scrimmage on a play the defense was in great position to stop.

"He is coming," Luper says of Phillips. "It is a lot faster game for him because he played really small school high school football, but he is making the adjustment quickly. He is big, strong, athletic, powerful. When he gets it down, he is going to be really, really good.

"He will probably play at around 290 (pounds)," Luper says. "I mean he is physically imposing. He can stand on his bare feet and do a back flip. He is athletic and he can catch the football and he can just move a mountain."

Ladarious Phillips is one of 30 scholarship newcomers on the 2010 roster.

Mario Fannin, a senior, looks like he will head into the season as the number one tailback backed up by sophomore Onterio McCalebb and Dyer.

At fullback junior Eric Smith is number and Phillips has a chance to be his top backup.

Commenting on the running backs as a group in the third scrimmage, Luper says, ""They did well. Mario ran the ball well. We were more concerned about pass protection, making sure we identified the right people in pass protection. That was our emphasis and to protect the football. We did a good job with those two things."

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