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|08-29-2013, 01:19 PM||#1|
2nd Team All-American
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: land de la rich
Expect the run game to bounce back this season
Team rushing totals
2010: 2161 yards 4.1 ypc 26 tds
2011: 2497 yards 4.5 ypc 28 tds
2012: 1800 yards 3.7 ypc 19 tds
The keys to bouncing back to the prior two years level of success or better is going to be versatility, commitment, and going along with commitment is imposing our will on teams. When teams stack the box there will be plays that we have to make through the air, but its going to be just as important to impose our will on teams because it will likely mean the difference in at least one game this year.
We have 4 backs that the coaches expect to contribute this year. Not to pigeonhole them, but two gamebreakers, and two guys who we fully expect to carry the load if need be. The lone positive to not having Lattimore is if the starter isnt finding much room we likely wont be as apt to abandon the run entirely.
Having a healthy Connor Shaw should be big. If we can limit the amount of hits he takes, his legs should open up lanes for the backs. Dylan Thompson showed last year that he's not going to break the big one, but he will get first downs if unaccounted for. We threw for at least 272 yards over our last 4 games against fbs opponents. You have to go all the way back to Blake Mitchell at the end of the 2007 season the last time we did that. The only concern i have about that is it will be very difficult to reach our ultimate goal by trying to outfinesse the best teams in the sec. So while it will be important for them to make big plays, we need to stay relatively balanced for us to be consistent.
Don't know how many snaps Connor McLaurin will log, but i think he can be a difference maker when it comes to imposing our will on teams when it comes to salting away games and running against stacked fronts. Coach Elliott raved about him in the spring and he recently got put on scholarship. He can be the unsung hero in the run game's success.
No excuses for this group not to perform well specifically run blocking. We're way too big and too experienced. 4 of 5 starters back. Robinson, Cann, and Patrick are all going into their 4th year in the program, Shell going into his 3rd year. Shell and Patrick both talked about getting quicker after practices. The veteran line should help redshirt freshman starter Cody Waldrop who by accounts is a bull at center.
When we've been at our best running the ball the past 3 years a team may have taken away the shotgun rb runs, but we've been able to counter that within the running game and ultimately impose our will on teams. Whether thats going with a lead blocker when the zone stuff isnt working or vice versa. Not that Auburn is a pleasant memory from 2010, but its the one example that sticks in my mind. They pretty much shut Lattimore down in the first game. In the SECCG they contained him early on again, but we threw some option at them and suddenly we were able open up our other running plays in the 2nd and early 3rd quarter. I expect that level of versatility, commitment, and success against even the good run defenses this year except with a happier ending to the season.