AUBURN, Ala. — This week has been incredibly valuable for the Auburn football team.
Six games into the season, the bye week has provided the opportunity for several banged up Tigers, including sophomore running back Kerryon Johnson — who was seen on crutches after suffering an ankle injury vs. Mississippi State — the chance to heal and rest.
“We’re trying to be very smart with Kerryon this week,” coach Gus Malzahn said. “We’ll know more probably Sunday, but he’s in the training room getting treatment, he’s desperate to come back, but we’ll know more probably Sunday.”
Despite missing the majority of Auburn’s first road game against the Bulldogs, Johnson is the team’s leading rusher after the first half of the season (538 yards).
Others who suffered injuries to this point included running back Kamryn Pettway (bruised quadricep) and center Xavier Dampeer (knee).
Earlier in the week, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said some of his players were “a little limited in what they could do, but not much.”
The Auburn coaching staff has used the downtime to let starters recover while preparing younger players for the remainder of the SEC schedule.
“Every year is different in the off week, but we’re a pretty beat-up team. Our guys have played very physical, they’ve played very hard, so we’re trying to be very smart with our starters, really trying to develop some depth. A lot of the young guys are starting to get better. This is a big week for them.”
Auburn players will have the coming weekend off, allowing time to go home if they choose, before returning to a regular schedule next week.
Auburn will play the No. 22 Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 22 before traveling to Oxford to take on Ole Miss.