Can Kerryon Johnson… um… you know?

What happens if Gus Malzahn’s main guy can’t carry on?

Brandon Marcello reminds us that the Gus Bus doesn’t purr as smoothly when it’s not firing on all pistons.

Injuries to Auburn’s top players do not usually result in positive results in the Gus Malzahn era.

Injuries to Auburn quarterback Sean White and running backs Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson derailed the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The Tigers watched a six-game winning streak evaporate with sluggish offensive performances near the end of the 2016 season, which included two of the four worst offensive outputs of Malzahn’s career — 164 yards against Georgia and 182 yards against Alabama — as White dealt with a shoulder injury and Pettway and Johnson battle various injuries.

Two of the bottom 12 offensive outputs occurred in 2015 as the Tigers dealt with an injury to White late in the season. A hamstring injury kept Johnson on the sideline as a slow-footed Pettway (ankle injury) struggled against Clemson in Week 2 of this season, resulting in the worst offensive performance in Malzahn’s career (117 yards).

No. 2 Auburn (10-2) may face a similar situation Saturday in the SEC Championship against No. 6 Georgia (11-1). Johnson, Auburn’s leading rusher, is questionable for the rematch against the Bulldogs.

Not that the driver isn’t putting a brave face on things.

“The last two years, you’re exactly right,” Malzahn said. “There’s been some injuries to key people at times. This team is different. I think everybody sees it. Any time you’ve got one of the best players in all of college football and you’re not for sure if he’s going to play, as a coach, it concerns you. But our team, I think we’ve got depth. I really think that, if he can’t go, our guys will rise to the occasion.”

I can’t blame him for trying.  It’s not as if he doesn’t have that offensive line and Stidham to fall back on, either.  Still, you don’t lose one of the best tailbacks in the country and not miss a beat.  As far as how strong an assumption you can make of the first part of that sentence, Marcello reports that Johnson hasn’t practiced all week.  If true, that’s not exactly an indication of robust good health.  It’s definitely something to keep an eye on when Auburn goes on offense.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Can Kerryon Johnson… um… you know?

  1. Rusty

    “ I think everyone sees it”.
    No. No they don’t, Gus.
    You’ll have to prove it. Today.
    Dawgs win.

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  2. WF Dawg

    The “carry on” or “carrion” question is one of the top two for this game, second, perhaps, only to what in the world we’re gonna do to move the ball on that DL.

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  3. AusDawg85

    I trust the D, Tucker and Kirby to be ready on that side of the ball. I trust Nick and Sony plus Wims and Mecole on offense. But a Freshman and Chaney running things….makes me nervous. Very interesting to see if Kirby will make changes to protect Fromm, or just say “relax kid, here’s the ball now go make plays”.

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  4. Cojones

    He’s listed as “Probable”, not “Questionable” on the injuries list I follow. If Gus is leading Vegas on with that status, he will pay for it other than on the field.

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  5. sigmund

    Last night I dreamed the score at halftime was AU 57 UGA 20. I woke up before the final score. Anyway, AU had a running back that no one ever heard of run for over 300 yards.
    I take this as a good sign because I have never dreamed anything that came close to happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. W Cobb Dawg

    The sports radio talking heads surmised Vegas lowed the spread because they knew KJ wouldn’t be playing. I’m inclined to agree. Not because of the talking heads, but because I saw with my own eyes that RB taking some serious hits last week.

    Awbie has 4 stud players: Brown, Holland, KJ and Stidham. Their O is considerably weaker without that back.

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  7. Scott

    Seeing as how Gus can recruit illiterate players because he uses comics to signal in plays maybe the backup guy hasn’t learned that Fred Flintstone means a run to the right yet. We can hope.

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  8. soccerdawg

    Kerryon to start. Bet he is a decoy.

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  9. Will Trane

    What Gus forgot to say is this.
    I ran my top running back’s dick in the ground the last three home games.
    I wanted to win big so I could brag.
    I do not care about my players, it is all about me.
    Here is the issue for you Gus, you dick head.
    Called roster management.
    You have no idea how to manage one.
    And today you found out you fucked up dude, big time.
    The dick head coaches in SEC…Mullen, Mason, and Malzhan.

    Like