AUBURN — Auburn quarterback Chirs Todd made a difference this week by utilizing himself in the running game.
Before the LSU game, Todd said he needed to run more to make defenders respect him as a threat.
He only gained 23 yards on eight carries, but LSU did have to keep an eye on him.
“I think that’s something I’m going to have to do,” Todd said. “It helps open up the run game a lot and they need to respect that. I think it helped. I think it helped the running backs, too, because the backside d-ends can’t go after them.”
That wasn’t the only way Todd’s feet helped the offense.
When LSU’s defense started pressuring Todd in the pocket, Franklin started calling more designed rollouts on passing plays.
“It was really more dictated by the game and them bringing some pressure,” Todd said. “It made it a little easier on the o-line. I think the big thing, and you don’t see a lot of it when you’re doing it.”
Todd credited his experience at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College for his ability to throw on the run.
“Throwing on the run, that part of my game improved a ton,” Todd said. “It helped a lot and it was very beneficial for some stuff we were able to do in the game this past week.”
BOUNCING BACK: Cornerback Neiko Thorpe caught Jerraud Powers’ attention Saturday night, not by his play, but by his attitude.
Powers was concerned that Thorpe might get down after the true freshman got beaten for LSU’s first touchdown. Instead, he came to the sideline, confessed to making a technical mistake and then pushed for another opportunity.
“He was like, ‘I’m fine, though. I’m good. I’m ready to go back out there and make another play,’” Powers said. “I thought that was pretty impressive coming from a freshman. When he went back out there, he went out and made a tackle on third down and I was just like, ‘That’s the way to respond: Just keep playing football.’
“He realizes that you’re not going to play corner in college football and not get beat deep. He realizes that and he responded to it.”
PYBUS EARNS TIME: Another true freshman, strong-side linebacker Spencer Pybus, is making his way up the Auburn depth chart.
Pybus had not been listed on the two-deep, but when Craig Stevens needed to rest during the LSU game, Auburn turned to Pybus instead of backup Courtney Harden.
Now Pybus is considered Stevens’ backup.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Pybus said. “I was blessed with a wonderful opportunity. I just try and make the best of it every day.”
INJURY REPORT: Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville said tailback Brad Lester (knee) is fine and will play Saturday against Tennessee.
“He was out there today running around,” Tuberville said during his weekly press conference. “He’s just sore. He should be ready to go.”
Another tailback, Tristan Davis, was injured when he got kicked in the head by one of his teammates on a kickoff return. Tuberville said Davis still has a headache, but should be able to play. Davis will not participate in contact drills before Saturday.
Safety Zac Etheridge sustained a stinger in the second quarter against LSU. He re-entered the game later in the same quarter and is expected to play this weekend.
– Compiled by Luke Brietzke