Gus Malzahn sat up in a chair at a table with an Auburn helmet and a Chick Fila logo and stuff like that and talked about the preparation and buildup to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against UCF yesterday.
There were a few nuggets, but the main news concerned our running backs and their availability (or lack thereof) for the game on New Year’s Day.
First, the news we’ve all been waiting for with bated breath.
Gus Malzahn said Kerryon Johnson looked good today in practice and "will play" in the Peach Bowl.— Josh Vitale (@AUBlog) December 27, 2017
Despite the fact that Kerryon’s apparently been wearing a non-contact jersey at certain points, you have to believe that the staff is just taking every precaution with him and limiting the hits until kickoff. With him at running back, Auburn’s offense takes a huge leap forward. All you have to do is watch the different between the first Georgia game/Alabama game and the SEC Championship.
As for our other running back, whose limited play this year has been oh-so-tantalizing, I guess no news is still the flavor of the week.
Auburn HC Gus Malzahn confirms RB Kamryn Pettway did not travel to Atlanta for the game. "He stayed back with his family."— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) December 27, 2017
I know you’ve all seen the report that Pettway is “not welcome” back at Auburn, which for the moment is being painted as patently false by Auburn officials. Whether that’s true or not, we probably won’t know until we see him at spring practice or notice his conspicuous absence. After the suspension earlier in the year, I don’t think anyone would be surprised if he never plays another down in a navy uniform, and his production will be missed.
One thing that Malzahn mentioned is that this is a much more business-like approach to bowl preparation than in years past. With the shade that UCF has been throwing around, questioning Auburn’s speed and dedication to the bowl game, I would hope that the Tigers are taking this one much more seriously. It’s a real opportunity to quiet the opponent and take some momentum heading into 2018.
“We’ve been talking about that our program is set up for long-term success. There are opportunities you have to accelerate that. Our leaders get that." @CoachGusMalzahn on @AuburnFootball incentive in @CFAPeachBowl https://t.co/GUXDAkRZz0— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) December 28, 2017
We’ll continue our look at UCF later today as we get closer to New Year’s Day. War Eagle!