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Friday, March 11, 2016

Running Back University

Bo Jackson honored on the side of JHS. photo by Klell Lawrence

Various schools claim to be "Tailback U" or whatever, but the truth of the matter is this; Auburn University leads all SEC schools in total numbers of Running Backs taken in the history of the NFL Draft. 

Auburn is tied for 6th All Time in total RB numbers in the nation, and first in the SEC. Just click on that link, and see for yourself.

That being said, it stands to reason the moniker "Running Back U" is a valid and reasonable title among the most powerful football conference in America. In fact, three of the Tiger's regularly scheduled opponents each season were among the Top 17 defenses versus the rush in 2015, yet Auburn managed it's 6th consecutive season where at least one  RB carried for more than 1,000 yards.

An amazing statistic considering how inefficient the Auburn offense was at times last season.

The question is; Who is going to carry the mantle into the 2016 season as the starter? The answer would appear to be #29 Jovon Robinson. Robinson carried the ball 117 times for 639 yards averaging 5.46 yards. These numbers were compiled in just 8 games. 

Still, Robinson can not be expected to carry the entire load. Indeed, Gus Malzahn has shown a penchant for spreading the ball around when it comes to the running game. Four RB's saw meaningful carries in 2015, as did 3 WR's. 

Roc Thomas averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and Kerryon Johnson over 4, so there is plenty of talent to push Robinson, or just relieve him. Then there is the highly heralded true Freshman Malik Miller.

Unless there are  several injuries at this position in 2016, there is confidence that Gus Malzahn will field a talented, and experienced group at the RB position. One more than capable to extend the record to seven consecutive seasons with at least one 1,000 yard rusher.


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