Auburn starting running back Kam Pettway might sit out the Tigers spring game so the coaches can see more of other backs.
If you are an Auburn fan attending Saturday’s annual A-Day Game at Jordan-Hare Stadium and you don’t see Kam Pettway play, you can relax: it was by design.
Pettway, who rushed for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns last season, suffered injuries that kept him out of some games at both the beginning and end of the season. He is fully healthy now, but Tigers coaches are more focused on figuring out who will be his backup.
“We’re still kind of sorting through the running back rotation right now,” Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said. “I think definitely that’s something we’ve got to think through before we make a decision. We’ve kind of gone back and forth on it but really probably not ready to decide yet.”
Kerryon Johnson, who began last season as the starter, should be the backup to Pettway after rushing for 895 yards and 11 touchdowns, giving the Tigers a major threat in the backfield to go along with new quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
Behind them, three guys are competing for playing time in the crowded backfield: Kam Martin, Malik Miller, and C.J. Tolbert. Tolbert has earned praise from both Lindsey and running back coach Tim Horton during spring practice.
“Yeah, I like him [Tolbert] a lot,” Lindsey said. “He’s a physical guy. He plays extremely hard. Kind of humble, doesn’t say a whole lot. Doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. When he gets in there it seems like he falls forward. It seems like he’s got a little knack for hitting a crease here or there, so been impressed with him a lot. I really do like him.”
“He can run. He can break tackles,” Horton said. “There was a particular run on [March 25] where he had a 7-yard run even though he was hit by two or three guys at the line of scrimmage.”