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Auburn facing uncertainty at running back position with Peyton Barber hurting

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn might have to shuffle the deck at running back.

An injured Peyton Barber didn’t practice last week, and only carried the ball eight times for a season-low 17 yards in a 27-19 loss to Ole Miss.

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee isn’t sure what the running back’s status for next week’s game against Texas A&M will be.

“He’s OK today,” Lashlee said, Sunday night during his weekly press conference. “I don’t think he’s any worse for it. He was sore and didn’t get to practice much last week. Showed some toughness and tried to give it a go, just wasn’t quite himself but I don’t think there’s any long-term effects.”

Junior college transfer Jovon Robinson received most of Barber’s carries going for 91 yards on 18 attempts.

Robinson injured his ankle in the season-opener against Louisville, but was healthy enough to play in recent weeks. The coaching staff was reluctant to talk about Robinson’s lack of playing time.

Lashlee offered his first extended words on Robinson since before the season in assessing how the Tennessee native played Saturday.

“Thought he played really well, had some really good hard runs, good cuts, broke some tackles and most importantly held onto the football,” Lashlee said. “He gave our run game a shot in the arm when we really needed it. Gave us a chance, so he did a really good job.”

Lashlee left the door open for Robinson to get more playing time, but wouldn’t commit to any of Auburn’s four running backs as the Tigers’ primary rusher.

“He has an opportunity to continue to play and we’ll just see how it goes,” Lashlee said. “We’re in a stretch right now, a physical stretch, that’s why we need all those guys. We got four tough, physical games left, so we’re going to need them all.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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