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Cameron Artis-Payne showing Auburn he's 'a complete back'
Oct. 27, 2014

Auburn's Cameron Artis-Payne is on the go after getting the ball from Nick Marshall

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Auburn has the SEC's second-leading rusher in Cameron Artis-Payne, but coach Gus Malzahn has a developing plan to get everybody into action.

A stat sheet that shows five players had carries and seven players caught passes in last Saturday's tight 42-35 win over South Carolina demonstrates how Auburn can spread the ball around, and have a dominant rusher as well. Artis-Payne had 25 carries for 167 yards Saturday to keep him on a faster pace though seven games than Tre Mason's record-breaking season last year.

He'll take that memory to Saturday's 6 p.m. game at Ole Miss.

"He's a tough guy. He's very reliable," Malzahn said on Auburn's Tiger Talk radio show Monday night. "He makes those tough yards inside, and he's gotten better at bouncing things when they're there on the perimeter. He's a good blocker, he's a good pass protector, a good pass catcher and a good inside and outside runner. He's a complete back."

He also has 839 yards rushing this season.

Bonus fact:  "The offense didn't have one penalty, didn't have one turnover. That's sign things are going in right direction."

Auburn has brought Thomas along slowly, nudging him up to eight carries for 34 yards against South Carolina.

"Roc is a guy we really feel like is coming on," Malzahn said. "We feel like he's ready for a more expanded role. The other night we felt like he did a good job."
Corey Grant had one carry. "Corey had a little bit different role than what he's done in the past, but he executed it real well. You can possibly see all three of them on the field at the same time in the future.

"Corey did a lot more blocking than he normally does. But he's extremely good on the edge. He caught the balls out of the backfield. He did a great job with that. We're just trying to utilize his strengths."

Louis had three carries on sweeps and  what's this?  he was second on the team with 102 yards rushing, including a 75-yard touchdown run. Malzahn credited Artis-Payne and Sammie Coates with springing him with good blocks.

"The rest was just Ricardo Louis' speed," he said.

Malzahn also said…

• The win over South Carolina was "something we can build upon the rest of the year."

• Quarterback Nick Marshall did well with the zone-read and his passing to make it an "overall, a complete night" in Saturday's win.

• High expectations for Auburn are OK. "Personally, I like the expectations. I think the players do and I know the coaches do."

"Auburn is a program where you have high expectations. We want to win championships here, and we're still building this thing."

• Steve Spurrier went for it six times on fourth down Saturday. He made it five times, too. Malzahn was asked if he had ever done that.

Yes, as it turns out, when he was a high school coach in Arkansas at Shiloh Christian. His team was down 38-14 in the first quarter, so he never punted and kicked onsides kicks after every score. He won the state playoff game 70-64.

Oh, and Rhett Lashlee was his quarterback.

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



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