With last season’s leading rusher Peyton Barber out of the picture, Auburn senior running back Jovon Robinson and junior Roc Thomas are competing for the starting job in spring practice.
Through seven practices, the race appears neck-and-neck.
“That’s probably one of our better competitions,” Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told reporters after Thursday’s spring practice, according to 247Sports’ Phillip Marshall. “You look at Roc, and he earned the starting job last year. Then he got nicked up and it was kind of an up and down year for him.
“You look at Jovon, and he finished the season well in a lot of areas, but he hasn’t carried the load for 14 or 15 games… Who can display toughness running the ball, in pass protection, not just every now and then but on a consistent level?”
Thomas started as the top running back on the depth chart last season, but he was injured in the opening game and was quickly supplanted by Barber. Robinson came on late after dealing with injury issues of his own to rush for 639 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. He was also named MVP in Auburn’s Birmingham Bowl win over Memphis to end the season.
Another player who figures to have an impact in the backfield is sophomore Kerryon Johnson, who displayed his explosiveness during his freshman campaign. Johnson was particularly effective in wildcat packages, however, he is sidelined for the entirety of spring practice due to an injury.