War Eagle Extra

Auburn football notes: Running back Mario Fannin recovers to contribute again

AUBURN, Ala. — A consultation with Dr. James Andrews usually indicates a shoulder injury is serious, but Auburn running back Mario Fannin did it recently and got good news.

“I’m 100 percent now,” Fannin said. “I just had to get a couple of hits on it and make sure everything was right in there. … I went out there and got those carries, and after the first hit, I didn’t think about it anymore.”

Fannin, who sat out against Clemson and most of the South Carolina game with an injured left shoulder, returned last Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe and ran 10 times for 89 yards and a touchdown.

“We were a little worried there for a week or two, trying to take some things off of him,” offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. “But he played very physical Saturday, protected very physical and then ran the ball physical, so that was good to see.”

The senior did it without the restrictive shoulder harness, using a brace that hindered him less as a pass catcher.

With freshman Mike Dyer emerging as a ballcarrier and the speedy Onterio McCalebb as a perimeter option, Fannin knows he will have to contribute in the passing game.

“That’s the thing I want to do this year, to be able to help my team in both aspects of the game,” he said. “Hopefully, the coaches will be able to trust me in that aspect.”

Fannin’s fumbling problems are a concern. He has two this year, although the harness contributed to both, he said.

“You really can’t use that as an excuse,” he said. “You still have to hold the ball. Hopefully, those issues are done now.”

Awaiting word

Backup quarterback Barrett Trotter remains day-to-day with a knee injury he suffered on a touchdown run against Louisiana-Monroe.

“Hopefully, he’ll be ready,” head coach Gene Chizik said, “but the evaluation process will continue for the next week.”

Senior Neil Caudle and redshirt freshman Clint Moseley are the two options if Trotter can’t play. Caudle got some work Tuesday.

Asked whether Caudle would be next in line, Malzahn said there is a “decent chance” that would be the case.

Wisner to Winter

Emory Blake was surprised fellow wide reciever Jay Wisner left the team for “personal reasons” last week. The two were roommates last year.

“It’s sad to see him go,” Blake said. “It’s tough but sometimes things happen and guys have to take care of stuff.”

Blake declined to get into specifics but remembered Wisner as “a character. He’s the one always making us laugh, always bringing jokes, doing crazy stuff.”

Malzahn said Derek Winter, a 6-foot, 208-pound junior, will replace Wisner.

“Jay was a tough guy, did a lot of the dirty work, things that went unnoticed,” Malzahn said. “Derek Winter will step up and do a lot of the things that he did. We have a lot of confidence in Derek.”

Redshirt no more

Freshman linebacker Jake Holland has heard about the grueling redshirt workouts reserved for most players in their first year, but he’s never gone through them.

It’s something he won’t experience this year. Holland, a 6-foot, 231-pound freshman from Pelham, Ala., got his first action against ULM as the second-team middle linebacker behind Josh Bynes.

Holland recovered a fumble and made three tackles, one for a loss. He also has worked on several special teams, mostly kickoff and punt return.

“I really didn’t have any opinions on which way they wanted to go,” Holland said. “I was OK with a redshirt and I was OK with playing this year, because in the end, I’m helping the team either way.”

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