AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn's backfield appears likely to be full-strength for the Sugar Bowl. The 17th-ranked Tigers began bowl practice Wednesday for the Jan. 2 game against No. 7 Oklahoma with quarterback Sean White and tailback Kamryn Pettway back out there without limitations, coach Gus Malzahn said.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn's backfield appears likely to be full-strength for the Sugar Bowl.
The 17th-ranked Tigers began bowl practice Wednesday for the Jan. 2 game against No. 7 Oklahoma with quarterback Sean White and tailback Kamryn Pettway back out there without limitations, coach Gus Malzahn said.
Those two helped power Auburn's rise into Southeastern Conference Western Division contention before injuries late in the season. White missed the final two games with an injured throwing (right) shoulder but Malzahn was encouraged by Wednesday's practice.
"He practiced the whole time and it looked to me like he was 100 percent," Malzahn said. "He did everything the other quarterbacks did and didn't miss a beat"
Pettway sat out the Georgia and Alabama A&M games and was limited in the regular season finale against No. 1 Alabama. Malzahn said he also was full go in the first bowl practice.
With them out or limited, the Tigers combined for 19 points in their final two SEC games. Both were losses, after a six-game winning streak.
"I think there's a good chance that all the guys out there are going to be close to 100 percent," Malzahn said.
Pettway is leading the SEC with 124.8 rushing yards per game but missed three with injuries.
White aggravated the shoulder injury in the Georgia game and wound up 6-of-20 passing for 27 yards with an interception returned for a touchdown. Senior Jeremy Johnson started the final two games but passed for just 34 yards against the Crimson Tide.
Pettway rushed 12 times for just 17 yards against the Tide. The third-year sophomore has already announced that he will return to Auburn next season instead of leaving to enter the NFL draft.
White will have new competition for the starting job in the spring from former Baylor starter Jarrett Stidham. Stidham signed with the Tigers on Wednesday.
He left Baylor after the firing of Art Briles and was expected to be Seth Russell's backup this season. Stidham, who started 10 games as a freshman, spent the fall at a junior college that doesn't have a football program.
Malzahn expected him to be in Auburn on Dec. 19 or 20 for the last few practices before the team departs for New Orleans.
"We started recruiting him way back when," Malzahn said. "We felt like he was the top quarterback in the country when he came out and then he chose to go to another school. For us to have a guy like him, we think he's an outstanding player, outstanding person. Got great leadership. He will be a great addition to our team."
Malzahn said he'll open up the quarterback competition in the spring.
NOTE: Auburn also signed junior college tight end Sal Cannella out of Scottsdale Community College. Like Stidham, he will be eligible for spring practice. ... Auburn senior defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence had surgery for an unspecified injury this week and will miss the bowl game. ... Freshman tailback Malik Miller will miss the bowl game with a knee injury and Auburn will try to get him a medical redshirt.
More AP college football: www.collegetootball.ap.org