AUBURN, Ala. — Throughout spring practice and fall camp, the only way Auburn's coaching staff would refer to Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant were as "1 and 1A" at running back. With two-thirds of Auburn's regular season in the books, the senior duo is still listed that way on the team's official depth chart.
That designation has meant less and less as the season has progressed, however.
Artis-Payne leads the SEC in myriad rushing categories, from carries (208) and yardage (1,190) to yards per game (132.2).
Grant, on the other hand, has seen his role diminish considerably. In the first four games of the season, he carried 34 times for 216 yards and one touchdown. Compare that to his past five outings; Grant has run just 12 times for 69 yards and one touchdown.
During his weekly Tuesday press conference, even Gus Malzahn noted that Grant hasn't seen as many touches recently.
"Corey’s a definitely a very good player for us. He does a lot of different things for us, even though he’s not gotten the carries he may have earlier," Auburn's coach said. "He’s helped us in some different ways as far as protection and check downs and doing some other things for us."
Those "other things" include being a decoy on some plays and serving as a lead blocker as needed.
"He does a good job with that. He’s a very smart guy," Malzahn said. "He’s a veteran guy that understands our offense very well. So he gives us some flexibility utilizing his skills."