AUBURN, Ala. — A couple of key players were missing from the action during Auburn’s blowout win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
One week after missing the SEC opener at Missouri with a shoulder injury, senior linebacker Tre’ Williams didn’t see the field. Meanwhile, sophomore Kam Martin once again was absent from the backfield.
Fortunately for Auburn, those absences occurred as a result of strategic planning for the future rather than because of a concerning situation.
“Yeah, Tre’ is a little banged up,” Malzahn said after the win. “Obviously we kept him out last week. He could have played tonight in an emergency situation. Obviously it was fortunate we were able to rest him another week as far as that goes. And Kam Martin was a little bit banged up, too, from the last game.”
Williams spoke with media following Auburn’s win over Mizzou and was expected to see time against the Bulldogs. Malzahn indicated it was a “possibility” that Martin could see more carries in the coming weeks, but the native Texan wasn’t able to help his thinned out backfield.
Auburn didn’t require much help, though. Auburn had secured a 21-10 lead when it headed to the locker room at halftime and only built on that in the final quarters.
Malzahn didn’t mention when Williams and Martin might be full-go, but a Week 6 game against Ole Miss might be yet another chance to get healthier.
Kerryon Johnson was in part the driving force again. The junior led the way with a trio of touchdowns and totaled 116 yards — 49 more yards than the second-leading rusher Malik Willis.
Still, Johnson’s not exactly in the best shape, either. He’s simply a little healthier than Kamryn Pettway.
“Kerryon, he’s playing with a band on his leg,” Malzahn said. “You could see when he broke that one he wasn’t going to pull it again and the fact that he’s not 100 percent says a lot about him. You know he was pretty hot and we put Pettway in there and he’s not quite 100 percent, either a far as that goes. But I was proud of KJ and the job he did.”
Auburn will finish up with the Mississippi schools when it hosts Ole Miss next weekend on the Plains. Whether it’s injuries or on the field play, however, one main goal remains.
“If we keep improving just a little bit each week,” Malzahn said. “We’ve got a chance to be a good football team.”
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