The news ain’t good.
Huge news: Auburn HC Gus Malzahn said RB Boobee Whitlow suffered an injury late against Florida and underwent surgery. He will miss 4-6 weeks.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) October 8, 2019
You can read the tweet above from Friend of the Program Justin Ferguson, but Boobee Whitlow will not be a major part of Auburn’s offense for at least the next month, maybe more. Somewhere late in Saturday’s loss at Florida, Whitlow suffered a knee injury and had a procedure today. Recovery time? Up to six weeks, and that’s not even considering how much time he needs to work his way back into game rhythm.
For an Auburn team that had some trouble on Saturday moving the ball, this news it tough to hear. Let’s be honest, Boobee was never Cadillac, Irons, Tre Mason, Kerryon, or the greats of the past, but he was the best that Auburn had this season. Truth be told, he was better than he was last year. Auburn’s offensive line wasn’t doing him many favors, but he still managed to run for 544 yards and 7 touchdowns through the first half of the season. He was on pace for the expected 1,000-yard campaign, and the staff was doing a good job of making sure he didn’t get too run down by saving a ton of his carries for late in games.
Now, things get a little murky. Thankfully Auburn’s got a week off to help prepare a new starter for the game at Arkansas a week from Saturday. Here are the choices:
- Kam Martin - 174 yards, 5.1 ypc, 2 touchdowns
- Shaun Shivers - 144 yards, 5.3 ypc
- D.J. Williams - 32 yards, 4.6 ypc
- Harold Joiner - 19 yards, 4.8 ypc
- Malik Miller - 16 yards, 4.0 ypc
There’s not a lot of work in the group above. In fact, the second leading rusher on the team... can you name him? That’s right. Bo Nix, with 191 yards. In fact, Joey Gatewood, Anthony Schwartz, and Eli Stove all have more yards on the ground than Williams, Joiner, and Miller. That’ll likely change now.
So, what’s our timeline here? If we assume the full six weeks for recovery, then here’s where we can expect to get Whitlow back in the fold.
Week 1 - BYE
Week 2 - @ Arkansas
Week 3 - @ LSU
Week 4 - vs Ole Miss
Week 5 - BYE
Week 6 - vs Georgia
Now, he could ostensibly be back as early as the game against Ole Miss, and those two bye weeks sure do help in this regard. You would imagine that Auburn doesn’t need him to beat the Hogs and the Rebels, but we were going to be in for one of the toughest matchups against LSU anyway, and now we’ll be short-handed.
We’ll have to wait and see what Gus chooses to do over the next couple of weeks. Does he go with the experience in Kam Martin, or do we start to see D.J. Williams get work in at Arkansas before becoming the feature back in Baton Rouge? Only time will tell.