Auburn quarterback Jonathan Wallace (12) hands the ball off to Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne (44) during an Auburn practice Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Newport Beach, Calif. Auburn will play FSU in the BCS National Championship Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. (Julie Bennettfirstname.lastname@example.org)
-- The logical heir to Tre Mason's throne already has big plans for next season.Cameron Artis-Paynefeels like he's got plenty to show the college football world with a heavier workload as a senior.Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne answers questions at the BCS National Championship Media Day in Newport Beach, Calif. (Julie Bennettemail@example.com)Artis-Payne, who rushed for 610 yards, six touchdowns and 6.7 yards per carry as Mason's backup, will have a chance to take over as Auburn's feature back"I feel like I won't lose it," Artis-Payne said on Media Day before the BCS National Championship Game. "Point-blank, period."Artis-Payne, the junior college transfer from Allan Hancock (Calif.) Junior College, saw his chances dwindle as Mason established himself as one of the premier backs in the SEC down the stretch.In Auburn's grueling finishing stretch against Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and Florida State, Artis-Payne got only five carries, falling behind as Mason established himself as a Heisman Trophy finalist.Artis-Payne says he understood the lightened workload."Whatever the coaching staff feels like we need to do to win, I'm behind them 100 percent," Artis-Payne said. "It isn't really a personal thing. It's just trying to win."Artis-Payne immediately becomes the Mason's role.Corey Grant, another rising senior, has his own role carved out as Auburn's "speed" option, and the rest of the candidates -- redshirt freshman Peyton Barber and incoming freshmen Racean Thomas and Kamryn Pettway -- don't have a carry at the collegiate level yet.Mason had high praise for all of Auburn's current backs on Thursday."Those guys are ready, they were ready this year," Mason said. "I see a lot of talent in those guys and they're very hard workers. Starting from our redshirt Peyton Barber all the way up to Cameron Artis-Payne, those guys work hard, and that's something I know they're going to continue to do."Artis-Payne feels like a season spent learning the offense will have him ready to go in 2014.From setting up cuts to pre-snap reads, Auburn's offense has a lot of nuances, and Artis-Payne felt like it took him a while to fully pick up everything the Tigers' coaching staff needed him to do.Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the SEC Championship Game. (Julie Bennettfirstname.lastname@example.org)"The timing of the offense, how everything works, when we want to run certain things against, the looks we want to give them when we run certain plays, just to get that down, just to really understand the offense," Artis-Payne said.Now that Artis-Payne knows the scheme, he feels like he's got a chance to follow in the footsteps of a long line of Auburn running backs to race past the 1,000-yard mark.Artis-Payne's just waiting for his chance to show what he can do in this offense."It's a good fit," Artis-Payne said. "I can show you better than I can tell you. If things go the way I want them to next year, you'll see." AL.com coverage | 2013 Auburn Joel A. Erickson stories, opinion, news Thank you for subscribing. You should receive your first newsletter within 24 hours. To view and subscribe to any of our other newsletters, please .
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