Auburn Still Awaiting Word on Lester's Status

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said today tailback Brad Lester's status for the season opener remains in limbo.

Tuberville said Lester, who was suspended for the Cotton Bowl because of academics, could still be cleared to play Saturday night
for the 18th-ranked Tigers against Kansas State.

Tuberville didn't elaborate on the reasons for Lester's uncertain status. He is expected to replace Kenny Irons after rushing for 510 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

The Tigers entered fall camp with a surplus of tailbacks and now potentially have a shortage. Tristan Davis is expected to miss several weeks with a broken toe. Tailback/fullback Carl Stewart is returning from a hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of preseason practice, but is expected to play against Kansas State.

Ben Tate and redshirt freshman Mario Fannin also will figure heavily into what Tuberville calls Auburn's "running back by committee" approach. Tate averaged 7.3 yards on 54 carries as a freshman.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)