AUBURN, Ala (EETV) - After a 24-13 loss to Florida in The Swamp two weeks ago, the No. 11 ranked Auburn Tigers look to bounce back this weekend as they take on the Arkansas Razorbacks.
After the loss to Florida, the Tigers got a bye week to restart and prepare for the second half of the season. During the bye week, Auburn running back JaTarvious Whitlow had knee surgery and will be out for 4-6 weeks. Whitlow was a key factor in Auburn’s running game as he had seven rushing touchdowns and 544 rushing yards this season.
Looking forward, since the Tigers are without Whitlow, Head Coach Gus Malzahn has to reassess his run game. A star that has recently emerged is D.J. Williams, a freshman running back from Lake Placid. In Tuesday’s press conference, Gus Malzahn spoke on Williams saying, “He is going to get the opportunity to touch the ball. I think he has earned that and is healthy now.”
Gus Malzahn also spoke about the other players who will be involved in the run game against Arkansas and key names that popped up were Kam Martin, Harold Joiner, Shaun Shivers, and Malik Miller. Malzahn mentioned the loss of Whitlow, as well as the adjustments that came with it and said, “I'd be kidding myself to say Whitlow not going with us is not a big blow. But we have opportunities for those other guys to show what they can do."
As Auburn approaches the middle of their season, the player that is still under the most pressure of true freshman quarterback Bo Nix. His improvement since week one has been substantial. Malzahn commented on his progress Tuesday’s press conference, “He is not the same true freshman that he was the very first game the beginning of the year where we are learning. Now he knows about our offense and we have a plan moving forward the second half of the season."
For Saturday, The Tigers’ game plan is to create explosive offensive plays. Malzahn feels this is essential to the Tigers’ success and said, “When we do that, we are a good offense. When we don't, we are average.”
The Auburn Tigers are set to kickoff against the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday at 11 a.m CT and the game can be found on SEC Network.