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Auburn's Corey Grant showing speed, toughness
Sept. 13, 2014

Auburn's Corey Grant runs up the middle against San Jose State

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala.  Yes. Yes. Yes. For the hundredth time, yes.
Auburn's Corey Grant, the speedster, says he can run between the tackles where the tough yards are and the big guys live. 
"Throughout, that was one of my main focuses, to try and get better, be comfortable, running our inside zones and reads. I think I did pretty well with that and I think it's starting to show. Hopefully, as the season goes on, I can get some more of those carries," says Grant, who, along with his teammates, are enjoying an off day this football Saturday.
Grant and the Tigers will return to the practice field Sunday as they begin their final push toward a Thursday night game at Kansas State. The Tigers are 2-0 and went into this weekend with the player with the most rushing yards in the SEC in Cameron Artis-Payne; and with the player ranked seventh in the league in rushing, one Corey Grant.
Both are trying to run out of the long shadow cast by 2013 SEC rushing champ Tre Mason. For Grant, the usual line of questioning is whether he can run up the middle like bigger guys.
"Going into every game this year, I'm trying to be a more physical back," Grant said. "As I'm running the ball, there have been some times where I could have got out of bounds but I'd rather lower my shoulder and try to break that tackle or get two or three more yards."
Ironically, Grant wants to show he's more than a guy who can run fast, that he can play tough inside'; while Artis-Payne talks about showing he's more than a bruiser, that he can flash speed as well.
There is a happy medium, Grant says.
"Running inside, I'm following my block and making sure I'm making the right cuts. The physical part of it is not one thing I focus on, it's just making my right reads and trying to be more like Cam. He makes good reads," Grant said. "Our inside runs, that's what I'm trying to get better at, and after breaking the line of scrimmage, just using my speed to break past the secondary."
Auburn knows how to run. The Tigers led the nation in rushing last season, and though Mason has gone to the NFL, but they still came into the weekend boasting  the new SEC leader in yards in Artis-Payne, Grant, the promise of freshmen Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber and quarterback Nick Marshall, who rushed for more than a 1,000 yards last season.
How about more 1,000-yard rushers from the tailback spot in 2014? Grant says there's room for at two, saying that Artis-Payne is "on a good track to accomplish that. I think that's very possible. As the season goes on, you never know what happens. It just matter whatever defense we're playing, who has a good game."
Grant is waiting, hoping that he'll get his chance, hoping he's not on the sidelines when Gus Malzahn gets going fast, no slowing for substitutions.
"You never know what play Coach is going to call," he said. "Whenever you get a first down, he's going to start pacing. Before they started pacing, I could've been going in that play, but they started pacing. Now you never know what's going to happen. It's kind of crazy, but you get used to it."
And he stays ready.
"Always staying focused and staying in Coach's hip pocket, knowing what he's going to call, and just staying locked in through the entire game," Grant said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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