Malzahn: Auburn RB competition reminds him of 2013

The Auburn Tigers had a pretty good corps of running backs during their run to the BCS National Championship game in 2013. Cameron Artis-Payne was a huge part of the team’s success in the first half of the season and Corey Grant also added some needed depth at the position. Both had 600 yards apiece on the year, but Tre Mason was a big reason why the team was so good.

Mason came on midway through the season and rushed for over 1,800 yards and twenty-three touchdowns, which was good enough to land him a trip to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York that year. He also rushed for nearly 300 yards in the SEC Championship game that won him MVP honors.

According to, Tigers’ head coach Gus Malzahn is excited about the competition at running back this season. He has actually even compared the backfield situation to their magical run in 2013.

“I really feel a little like we did in 2013,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “We have more information than we had in 2013, but we’ve got three guys that can do it. We’ll see who kind of steps up but we’ve got three that we think are pretty good.”

The Tigers have a similar set of running backs this season with sophomores Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber along with JUCO transfer Jovon Robinson all expecting to have a pretty big role in the 2015 season.

As a true freshman, Thomas rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns last season and has been slated as the started by running backs coach Tim Horton. Robinson rushed for over 2,300 yards and thirty-four touchdowns at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2014 and was considered the number one JUCO player in the country.

Both of those pieces should make for a successful season for the Auburn offense.

While none of the three running backs have separated themselves from the pack just yet, Malzahn hopes that someone will pull ahead before the team’s SEC opener against LSU.

“I think that would be the plan that you would really like,” Malzahn said. “We’re just going to let it happen. We’re going to see how everything works out. That would be nice.”

The Tigers open the season on September 5 when they take on Louisville in Atlanta as part of the ACC/SEC Chick-fil-A Season Kickoff.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

Video: LSU commit scores touchdown on crazy scramble
Video: LSU commit scores touchdown on crazy scramble