September 3, 2006

Sunday Notebook: Irons a complete back

Anybody that watched Saturday night's matchup with Auburn and Washington State couldn't miss the exploits of the Tigers' Heisman Trophy candidate tailback Kenny Irons.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior exploded out of the gate with a 42-yard run on AU's first offensive play of the game and added a 58-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half.

In all, Irons ran for 183 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also caught three passes for 40 yards.

"He's come light years from this time last year," said Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. "He's so much more mature at playing running back, knowing that there's more to it than just running with the ball underneath his arm. He got a lot of yards after contact. He stepped up and made some good pass protection blocks. He caught a screen pass and made a big run after that. He's becoming more of an all-around player."

The biggest improvement Irons has made over last season is in his pass protection.

"Last year at this time, we weren't real confident in Kenny's pass protection," said Tuberville. "He graded out at 99 percent (against WSU). You can't do much better than that."

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