Expect Dyer to see increased load at Auburn

Marcus Lattimore, step aside. There’s another freshman running back who is ready to steal some of your thunder.

With starter Mario Fannin now dealing with a shoulder injury, expect Michael Dyer to quickly ascend to the top of the Auburn depth chart and emerge as the team’s featured back as the Tigers prepare for their nonconference tilt with Clemson Saturday evening.

Cam NewtonCam Newton has been Auburn's leading rusher the last two games.

Despite having the top-ranked rushing offense in the SEC, the second-leading rusher in the league and the ninth-best running offense in the nation, head coach Gene Chizik wants more from his running backs — which would mean less of Cam Newton in the rushing column on the stat sheet. Newton, the Tigers’ dual-threat quarterback, has led Auburn on the ground in the first two games.

“I don't prefer it that way at all,” Chizik said Sunday. “I prefer our tailbacks to be the leading rusher. Cam does a lot of things because he can make things happen. But our leading rushers need to be our tailbacks. There's no question about that.”

With Chizik hoping for more production from the team’s tailbacks, look for coordinator Gus Malzahn to establish the ground game early Saturday against Clemson — specifically with Dyer, as Fannin hurt his shoulder in last week’s win over Mississippi State. While the status of Fannin is undetermined, Dyer possesses too much talent to not receive more carries anyway. He has racked up 143 yards in limited opportunities in two contests, averaging 6.2 yards per rush.

Onterio McCalebb, who has 144 yards on the ground while averaging 6.9 yards per carry, will also see plenty of time in the backfield. But he isn’t the unique talent like Dyer.

Follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave or send me an email at dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com

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