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Auburn Focuses on Stopping Ford


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Published Friday, September 7, 2007

bilde?Site=LL&Date=20070907&Category=NEWS&ArtNo=709070443&Ref=AR&Profile=1002&MaxW=165

tigers' attention on usf running back

Auburn Focuses on Stopping Ford

http://www.theledger.com/article/20070907/NEWS/709070443/1343/SPORTS

FORD

By JOHN ZENOR

the associated press

Friday, September 7, 2007 [article tools]

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville thinks one of the nation's more talented tailbacks will be on the field Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

That's far from an uncommon occurrence at Tailback U.

But he's talking about South Florida freshman Mike Ford, not one of his own promising young runners.

"He's going to be a force not just in the Big East and South Florida, but in college football," Tuberville said.

Ford and the Bulls will try to score maybe the biggest victory in the history of their program when they play No. 17 Auburn.

Like many coaches, Tuberville recruited Ford out of Sarasota, where he ran for a state-record 2,836 yards. But Ford signed with Alabama out of high school in 2005, then spent a year in prep school after failing to qualify.

He re-signed with the Crimson Tide but changed his mind after coach Mike Shula was fired and enrolled at South Florida in January.

Ford has quickly shown his potential. He scored three touchdowns in his debut against Elon and gained 83 yards on six carries, including a 48-yarder.

"I'm sure they were just trying to get him ready for the games down the road," Tuberville said. "Mike Ford's a guy that we all noticed very quickly as a 10th and 11th grader and his senior year in high school. He's going to be one of the better players in the country the next few years."

Ford won't be the only talented young back on display in Saturday night's game.

Auburn has been churning out NFL running backs in recent years, including Rudi Johnson, Carnell Williams, Ronnie Brown and last year's second-round pick Kenny Irons.

Now, the Tigers are turning to sophomore Ben Tate and redshirt freshman Mario Fannin while Brad Lester remains on indefinite suspension for academic issues.

South Florida coach Jim Leavitt doesn't appear ready to make Ford the focal point of his offense. After all, quarterback Matt Grothe led the team in rushing last season and Ben Williams is back after gaining 436 yards.

"We're playing four or five guys right now, and it'll stay that way for awhile," Leavitt said.

But, he added of Ford, "He's a big back, he can run and we've got to get the ball in his hands."

Auburn defenders noticed more than Ford's rushing. They were impressed by the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder's blocking, too. As defensive end Quentin Groves said, he "flat-backed" a couple of Elon blitzers in Game 1.

"He's a tremendous blocker," linebacker Craig Stevens said. "He's not too big but he's been putting guys on their backs when he blocks. He's made a big impression on me."

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"We're playing four or five guys right now, and it'll stay that way for awhile," Leavitt said.

Does anyone here really believe that?  Tuberville seems to think it's a smoke screen, as do I.  I guess he may be technically accurate, but while all four will get into the game I can no longer imagine Ford not getting at least 15-20 touches.

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Is Bo Williams still the starter?  I can see williams starting, but if ford doesn't get in the game early and often i'm going to storm the field in the direction of leavitt myself.

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It's nice to see a team say they want to stop our running game when we have Grothe there to pass the ball down field.  I hope we can hit them with the pass when they try to stop the run, and hit them with the run when they try to stop the pass.

Go Bulls!

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Go ahead and let them focus in on Ford.  Taylor, Samuels, Williams, Grothe and the recieving core will make them pay for that.  100% fine by me.

 

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"We're playing four or five guys right now, and it'll stay that way for awhile," Leavitt said.

Does anyone here really believe that?  Tuberville seems to think it's a smoke screen, as do I.  I guess he may be technically accurate, but while all four will get into the game I can no longer imagine Ford not getting at least 15-20 touches.

Williams is probably a significantly better pass blocker within this system, so we'll see at least him along with ford all season.  I do think Ford will get more carries as he proves himself, which he's only done somewhat against elon.  He does have the potential though.

If I were Auburn, I'd be much more worried about shutting down Grothe and how to move the ball against a defense much better than they saw last week.

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Go ahead and let them focus in on Ford.  Taylor, Samuels, Williams, Grothe and the recieving core will make them pay for that.  100% fine by me.

 

And don't 4get Kelly. He's traveling for this game and he wouldn't dress unless we expected to use him with the load of backs we have.

We could be running the ball Big Time !

Most Attempts: 66 (2005 vs UCF)

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