AUBURN, Ala. — Kerryon Johnson tweeted this weekend that he will play in the Peach Bowl. On Sunday, his offensive coordinator agreed after seeing him take the field.
Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey said Johnson, who struggled with shoulder and rib injuries in an SEC title game loss to Georgia, practiced Sunday.
“He was good today, so I think he’s going to be in great shape,” Lindsey said. “We don’t play for two more weeks, so I feel good about him.”
The Tigers returned to the practice field Friday, the day when Johnson replied to an Auburn fan’s tweet asking him if he would play against UCF in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
After a day off Saturday, Auburn held the first of four straight practices on campus. The Tigers will take a few days off for Christmas, starting Thursday. They will begin practices in Atlanta next Thursday, Dec. 28.
Johnson, who led the SEC in rushing this season, had only 44 yards against Georgia in the SEC title game. Still, Johnson was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year last week by the league’s coaches and The Associated Press and finished ninth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said last week that he wasn’t sure if Johnson would play, but he knew his determined junior running back would do whatever it took to have a chance to play against the Knights.
“I know he’ll want to play,” Malzahn said. “He’s a great competitor. All of our guys will want to play. Our guys play for each other. So we’ll see where that goes. I’ll have a better idea once we get out to practice and move around and everything that goes with that.”
Lindsey said Johnson’s presence at practice Sunday was a lift to the rest of the Tigers offense, which will be ready to start 2018 on a high note in the Peach Bowl.
“I think it’s just a comfort from a standpoint of the guy’s played a lot of snaps, he’s a very intelligent player, really picks up on things well,” Lindsey said. “And he’s definitely an emotional leader for us.”