April 13, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- It was a 50-50 mix of runs and passes. It was 86 plays of scrimmage football. And the guy who turned heads in Auburn's scrimmage Saturday was junior running back Corey Grant.
Grant made a statement on a team that returns 1,000-yard rusher Tre Mason and is in working junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne.
"Corey Grant made some good runs. That's what kind of stood out to me," said coach Gus Malzahn. "He had some success, which was good see. He's a hard worker. He does a lot of dirty work. He made a couple of good runs."
Mason didn't practice because of injury, giving Malzahn a good look at Grant.
"It's a better opportunity," Grant said, "but I know what Tre can do, and I know when he gets back it's going to be just as hard to earn that position because Tre works hard just like all of us."
Grant rushed for 29 yards last season under the previous coaching administration.
"We recruited him when I was here before. He went to another school and came back. He's got the potential to fit in our offense," Malzahn said.
"He can flat out run. Anytime you've got a guy that can run, you can do some different things and try to get the ball to him in space."
Quarterback Jonathan Wallace had a close-up look, including Grant's two long runs.
"Corey had a couple of breaks," Wallace said. "You've really got to see his speed out there. He's really fast, very explosive. He makes explosive cuts. Corey is a really good running back for us."
•Malzahn said it was another practice day of looking at different players.
"We moved the ball in some different situations," he said. "Once again we mixed and matched some personnel. We're learning more every time out there. Our coaches will have a lot of different guys to evaluate, and that will be good for us."
Malzahn said he was looking for more than just understanding the playbook.
"Like I told them at the end, I'm more concerned with our attitude, our work ethic, how we respond to adversity, how we respond to success," he said. "The Xs and Os, after spring, we'll be able to settle in. But, big picture, I'm more worried about our team chemistry, how we respond to different situations. I would say we're improving."
•Malzahn said next Saturday's A-Day Game will be as "game-like as possible, not only for ourselves but for our fans."
He said he was changing the practice schedule. Like this week, he's canceling Monday's practice, saving it for after A-Day. The Tigers will now practice twice after A-Day.
•Defender JaViere Mitchell didn't practice because of an injury, but defensive lineman Angelo Blackson did as he comes back from injury.
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