MOBILE, Ala. — You might remember the Iron Bowl pregame telecast on CBS this November, when injured Alabama running back Kenyan Drake suited up just two weeks after fracturing his arm against Mississippi State.
Television cameras surrounded Drake before the game. Everyone — including SEC Country — wondered if he would play.
Turns out, the senior did not want any part in suiting up that day.
“Honestly, I didn’t want to do that,” Drake told SEC Country after his Senior Bowl weigh-in on Tuesday morning. “I just wanted to sit on the sideline.”
But coaches told Drake, who was at “60 or 70 percent,” to suit up and pretend to get ready for the game as he normally would, a tactic that forced Auburn to prepare for his multi-faceted abilities.
Drake called it a successful “ploy.”
“It definitely worked out,” he said, “because Auburn had to change their whole game plan with me practicing all throughout the week or going out there for warm-ups and everything.”
Drake’s absence did not hurt too much; Alabama pulled away late amid a record-breaking performance by his star backfield mate, Derrick Henry.
“I loved (the ‘ploy’) after the fact, to be out there with my teammates suited up, it definitely gave me an added feel to the game,” Drake said. “I knew I wasn’t gonna play, but just being out there dressing with my teammates; there was no better feeling.”