Jump to content

Livin' large: Carl Stewart grows up.

DKW 86

Recommended Posts


Livin' large

Monday, August 21, 2006


Sports Reporter

AUBURN -- Carl Stewart arrived on campus, in his own words, "scrawny." Three years later, he's a hulking physical specimen.

The weight-room work has paid off in his new role, Auburn's No. 1 F-back, a sort of hybrid running back that was filled most effectively by Ronnie Brown in 2004.

Coaches say Stewart has been the most productive running back in this month's camp, and the Tigers are committed to finding a meaningful place for him in the offense.

"We've got to find a way to get him the ball a little bit more in certain situations," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said.

Stewart hopes to get those snaps by being versatile.

"You might see me playing fullback, (playing) hard-nosed with lead blocks and draws," he said. "I'll be out there at receiving running deep balls, slants and all that. Then, I'll still get my regular time at tailback."

The idea of Stewart working at fullback might have seemed fanciful in 2003, when he first arrived at Auburn from Alcoa, Tenn.

But he's steadily built up his strength and weight. In the last year alone, he's surged from about 210 to about 230 pounds.

The extra weight has given him the confidence to be more aggressive on the field, but it also forced him to adjust to the burdens of carrying around extra weight.

"A lot of guys can tell you that over the summer, I had a few back problems and everything was weighing me down," Stewart said. "Once I got used to that, I was fine."

With the injury to Mike McLaughlin in the spring, Auburn no longer has any scholarship players in the role of "traditional" fullback.

Stewart's added size will help him block when needed, while his agility means that he is just as reliable running or catching the ball.

"Carl Stewart has got to be a factor for us somewhere," Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "Carl's been as solid as any of our backs. He's bigger, he's stronger, he's faster, and he's always been smarter. In some way, shape or form, we've got to find a way to get him the ball. We've got to manufacture some ways to get him the ball and get him in the game."

Even running backs coach Eddie Gran, who rarely doles out heavy praise, said Stewart has had an incredible camp.

"No doubt," Gran said. "If you put the whole package together, he's been the most consistent."

The F-back role has evolved from 2004, when Brown played there almost exclusively. It was used less often in 2005, Borges said, but could make a comeback this year. (DKW predicted that we would see a whole lot more of the total offense this season.)

"I just believe, from an offensive perspective, you've got to decide which guys give you the best chance to move the ball, and they've got to be in the game most of the time," Borges said.

After redshirting in 2003, Stewart has received sporadic playing time the last two years.

He was Tennessee's Mr. Football Back of the Year while playing for Maryville High School, where he acquired the nickname "Hollywood."

"My late uncle only got to see me play in one game," Stewart said. "It was a rivalry game, and after the game, he came out there and started yelling, "Hollywood! Hollywood!" all through the crowd. That was my junior year. Ever since then, it stuck. That's what my family calls me."

Stewart has a chance to gain similar notoriety at Auburn if he can manage to stake out a niche in a crowded backfield.

"We've got so many weapons on the offensive side, it's kind of a balance thing," Stewart said. "It's something I really don't pay any attention to. I'm going to go out there and do what they tell me to do. That's plain and simple."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Members Online

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...