With Boobee Whitlow out of action against LSU for all intents and purposes, true freshman D.J. Williams stepped into the spotlight and became the workhorse of the Auburn ground game.
Williams provided most of the spark for the Auburn offense and finished the game with 130 yards on only 13 carries, including one that went for 70 yards that likely should have resulted in a touchdown. With that long run removed, Williams would still have had an impressive debut as the Tigers' main back, as he averaged five yards on his other 12 carries.
"Boobee wasn't 100 percent, and he won't be 100 percent this week," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. "We were very impressed with D.J. — that was hist first extended time playing."
Williams picked up the rest of his carries on the season in two games — 11 in the blowout win over Arkansas and seven against Mississippi. For the season, he was 31 carries for 210 yards.
Williams also got involved in the passing game against LSU, catching both of his targets for 21 yards.
"He’s got great hands," said Malzahn of Williams. "He actually played quarterback in high school, so he’s got good hand-eye coordination. What really has impressed me about him is his knowledge of the game and picking things up so quickly. I think with him having played quarterback, it helps with him understanding the big picture."
Starter Boobee Whitlow was cleared to play last week heading up to the LSU game, but was still not 100 percent. He only carried the ball three times for nine yards on Wild Cat run plays.
"He’s not where we need him," said Malzahn of Whitlow. "He was on a limited basis by design. It’ll probably be something like that this week, too."
Quarterback Bo Nix has run more than seven times in all but one game this season, but ended up with -16 yards and one score on nine carries against LSU.
"I think that any time our quarterback is a runner, it opens up other things, so that’s always important," said Malzahn.