Corey Grant’s touches have decreased almost every week this season. The Auburn Tigers coaching staff plans to rectify that issue.
Through the first two games, the senior running back ran the ball 20 times for 176 yards. During the following four games, Grant carried the ball 19 times for 76 yards. Despite his game-changing speed, Grant only had a single carry Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
“You know, with Corey, he’s like a lightning rod,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told Al.com’s Brandon Marcello. “He gets in the game, and everybody knows how explosive he is. Defenses almost have specific plans when they see 20 on the field. They know, bam, they’re going to do certain things. We’ve got to get creative and find ways to get him touches.”
Grant is at his best when he can get out on the edges and outrace defenders down the sideline. Whereas Cameron Artis-Payne and Nick Marshall are more traditional between-the-tackles running backs.
“Obviously [opposing defense are] worried about perimeter,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn told Marcello. “He’s one of the fastest guys in college football. We run him between the tackles more than we have on the perimeter this year.”
Once Grant is excluded from the game plan, the Tigers’ offense becomes far more limited.
“You’re right, his touches the last few games have been down, but he has still made plays with it,” Lashlee said. “It’s a good problem with those guys, but we’ve got to do a better job managing and making sure that we’re getting them the touches when they need it and the right kind of touches.”
This weekend will be the perfect opportunity for the Tigers to find a better balance within their running game. Auburn hosts the South Carolina Gamecocks, who are currently ranked 85th overall in rushing defense and surrender 176.8 yards per game.