AUBURN, Ala. — Running back Mike Dyer walked into the media room with a large ice pack strapped to the outside of his right knee, but the Auburn freshman said he had a good practice Tuesday and is feeling “pretty good.”
Dyer was limited last week in practice after hurting his knee in the weight room. He didn’t practice until Thursday.
He played sparingly against Arkansas but still managed 53 yards on six carries. He ran for a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“It was good during the game,” he said. “Just make sure that you stretch it, keep moving it so it won’t be stiff.”
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Dyer said the team is being cautious with him this week.
“They’re just making sure that everything goes right,” he said. “They don’t want to push it too far, you know, try to slow me down too much. But it’s the job of the coaches to make sure everything’s done well and in a good way.
“This week I’ve been getting treatment and everything’s fine. I practiced a lot more today and I got to stretch it out. I’m ready to go.”
Bo knows running backs
Before he ran out of the tunnel Saturday, Dyer was pulled aside by Tigers great Bo Jackson for some last-minute advice.
Jackson had been at meetings all week, talking about how he expects Auburn running backs to play.
“He’s just one of those guys who loved playing here, loved being here and loves to help us when he can,” Dyer said.
Dyer said when a former Heisman Trophy-winning running back talks to you, you listen.
“When he says something to you, you’re like, ‘OK, that’s what I’ve got to do,’” Dyer said. “I mean, it’s Bo Jackson.”
Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn’s desired number for plays in a game is 80, a mark Auburn hasn’t hit once this year. The Tigers did manage to score 65 points against Arkansas, however.
“You call it even,” Malzahn deadpanned.
Malzahn’s offense is based on tempo, meaning the more cranked up it gets, the more plays it will run. But the Tigers haven’t hit their goal yet. They had 78 against South Carolina and 73 against Kentucky but otherwise haven’t topped 70.
“Well, whatever gives us the best chance to win is what we’re going to do,” Malzahn said.
Does it bother him not to hit that number?
“Not if you win,” he said.
Auburn hasn’t faced a punt returner quite like LSU’s Patrick Peterson all year, and it knows it.
“He’s in a league of his own now,” Tigers coach Gene Chizik said. “He has a great first step; he has a great ability to make the first guy miss. He’s one of those guys who don’t come along very often who have a knack for doing it and he does it well.”
Peterson leads the SEC and is fourth nationally with a 21.1-yard punt return average. He returned punts for touchdowns against North Carolina and West Virginia.
Auburn is 11th in the SEC and 84th nationally with a 34.6 net punting average.
Freshman Steven Clark, who assumed the punting duties two weeks ago, has averaged 36.8 yards on four punts the last two games.