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RBs for 2015


ClaytonAU
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I'm starting my annual RB discussion thread this off season to help with the slowness of the forum right now. A thread for all things Running Back for the 2015 season. You know the guys; Jovon Robinson, Roc Thomas, Peyton Barber, Kam Pettway, and Kerryon Johnson. Who do you think will take the feature back role this year? Don't think Gus will have a feature back, well then who do you think will split time the most? Discuss.

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Possibly the best discussion going into spring and during spring ball.

I love them all but obviously all cannot run the ball. I'm hoping that Barber and Roc get their chance to shine but I think that Jovon will be the guy in the trenches at the end of the season.

May the best guy win. Wde

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I know Malzahn has settled in on a feature back after a few games each of the last two years, but I wonder if this will be the year that we truly use a 2-RB rotation because the talent is so high between Roc and Robinson.

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I won't be surprised if by season's end Kerryon is the #1 but the backfield story of this season may end up being the TOTAL yards our RBs get. Gus traditionally throws to his runners a lot and he's left that a bit since returning to Auburn. Now he has a corp with hands like WRs and he may use it more his arsenal.

Prediction here: 2 RBs get over 1,000 total yards

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My gut tells me that Robinson, Rock & Barber are the feature backs. Johnson will get carries in wildcat roles, mop up duty and maybe some jet sweeps but I don't see him coming in and pushing out either of the other three. Don't get me wrong, I believe Johnson is a special kind of player. I just don't think with this stable of RBs that he will be the stud out of the gate. The sad thing is that everything I have read says Pettway is one heck of a RB. I hate to think he is not going to get many carries.

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Gus is going to find his back and ride him like Tre Mason was ridden in 2013. I doubt he wants to run 3-4 RBs out there, especially since he doesn't want to sub during drives if they get going. Personally, I think it's going to be Roc. If we were going to see Barber this year, we would have seen him more last year, but I know he was stuck behind CAP, Grant, and Roc. Barber might be the redzone back and Lord knows, AU needs help in the redzone something fierce. We saw Roc enough to know Gus is comfortable with him and he will likely start. Jovon has a shot if he gets healthy and has a good spring. He's also not a 5* out of juco for nothing. Honestly, I doubt we see Johnson at all unless he doesn't care to redshirt, then we'll probably see him in the HC game and a couple of other OOC games late. He will play as much as Barber did this year.

I doubt we see Barber or Pettway unless they transition into a FB roll, but really only Pettway is big enough for that.

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I think that it will go Jovon, Roc, Johnson at RB with Pettway and Barber at H-Back. I think that we use Barber in the 2 back sets lined up on the opposite side of the QB as the true RB.

Specifically with our RBs, I think that we see Jovon become the every down back whose stile is more of a power back than Roc. I see Roc coming in for a change of pace and being more of a speed back (though he is still good enough to run with power). I see Kerryon specifically in speed back roles for this season, and I also see him lining up at slot.

Pettway should take over the H-Back role, and with his background as a runner we may see plays like this one where we use his run threat to stretch the defense. The Panthers have done this a lot with Tolbert, Cam, and the Stewart/Williams combo. I think that if we do see this though, we see less of a speed-option and more of a short pass threat like we saw at times this year with Nick. Remember, JJ may not be a run-first QB, but that does not mean that he is incapable of running.

I think that we may also see Jason Smith on some of these plays as a running QB or on Speed Sweep trick plays (i.e. give Jason the ball on the sweep, have him run towards the edge, pull up and pass it to a wide open Duke streaking down the field).

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The passing threat of JJ should open it up for the RBs even more. Most of the carries that Nick got last year will go to the RBs this year. Because of that I wouldn't be at all surprised to see 2 RBs over 1000 yards this season.

My pick for those 2 backs: Robinson and Barber.

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I think Roc will get touches early but by season's end fumbling issues and weak hands will keep him on the bench in favor of the other RBs who are more reliable with the ball. He couldn't even catch kickoffs properly last season without dropping the ball.

As far as the other backs, Barber looked good in limited carries but thats all we saw. There's no telling how Kerryon Johnson will be during his freshman year, and Gus doesn't seem like the kind of guy to bring in a juco skill guy to keep him on the bench, so I think Robinson will get a lot of work but there's no telling how it'll shake out in spring/fall practice.

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I think Roc will get touches early but by season's end fumbling issues and weak hands will keep him on the bench in favor of the other RBs who are more reliable with the ball. He couldn't even catch kickoffs properly last season without dropping the ball.

As far as the other backs, Barber looked good in limited carries but thats all we saw. There's no telling how Kerryon Johnson will be during his freshman year, and Gus doesn't seem like the kind of guy to bring in a juco skill guy to keep him on the bench, so I think Robinson will get a lot of work but there's no telling how it'll shake out in spring/fall practice.

Wasn't CAP a juco transfer that rode the pine while Mason earned the starting spot? I am not saying I disagree with you, just pointing out the flaw in your statement.

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I think Roc will get touches early but by season's end fumbling issues and weak hands will keep him on the bench in favor of the other RBs who are more reliable with the ball. He couldn't even catch kickoffs properly last season without dropping the ball.

As far as the other backs, Barber looked good in limited carries but thats all we saw. There's no telling how Kerryon Johnson will be during his freshman year, and Gus doesn't seem like the kind of guy to bring in a juco skill guy to keep him on the bench, so I think Robinson will get a lot of work but there's no telling how it'll shake out in spring/fall practice.

Wasn't CAP a juco transfer that rode the pine while Mason earned the starting spot? I am not saying I disagree with you, just pointing out the flaw in your statement.

I actually see the other side of it in that CAP ate up everybody's carries last season. Pure speculation in my next comment: Gus told CAP during his recruitment he would be a workhorse before he left AU and made sure that was the case last year. Almost like he was forcing him in there, especially in the beginning half of the season when he was running straight into Dismuke's butt every play for a 1-2 yard gain every time.

It is speculated on here that JJ is a better QB than NM and by Gus allowing the QBs to go live in practice prior to the 2013 season he was trying very hard to allow NM to win the job. Because in a non-contact setting where there's no running only passing from the pocket, I don't think there's any doubt on here that JJ probably made NM look silly based on accuracy alone, especially prior to the 2013 year.

Edited by Tiger
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I think Roc will get touches early but by season's end fumbling issues and weak hands will keep him on the bench in favor of the other RBs who are more reliable with the ball. He couldn't even catch kickoffs properly last season without dropping the ball.

As far as the other backs, Barber looked good in limited carries but thats all we saw. There's no telling how Kerryon Johnson will be during his freshman year, and Gus doesn't seem like the kind of guy to bring in a juco skill guy to keep him on the bench, so I think Robinson will get a lot of work but there's no telling how it'll shake out in spring/fall practice.

Wasn't CAP a juco transfer that rode the pine while Mason earned the starting spot? I am not saying I disagree with you, just pointing out the flaw in your statement.

Over 600 yards and 6 TDs isn't exactly riding the pine. Sure he didn't take the starting job but Tre was a beast. I think if you look at Malzahn's track record then that statement is quite accurate.(Cam, Marshall, Duke)

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I think Roc will get touches early but by season's end fumbling issues and weak hands will keep him on the bench in favor of the other RBs who are more reliable with the ball. He couldn't even catch kickoffs properly last season without dropping the ball.

As far as the other backs, Barber looked good in limited carries but thats all we saw. There's no telling how Kerryon Johnson will be during his freshman year, and Gus doesn't seem like the kind of guy to bring in a juco skill guy to keep him on the bench, so I think Robinson will get a lot of work but there's no telling how it'll shake out in spring/fall practice.

Wasn't CAP a juco transfer that rode the pine while Mason earned the starting spot? I am not saying I disagree with you, just pointing out the flaw in your statement.

Over 600 yards and 6 TDs isn't exactly riding the pine. Sure he didn't take the starting job but Tre was a beast. I think if you look at Malzahn's track record then that statement is quite accurate.(Cam, Marshall, Duke)

And to be honest, he gave CAP every opportunity he could early in 2013. I thought a neutral observer could pick up on the fact that Tre Mason just looked better running the ball, even in the first 3-4 games but he was having to split carries with the other guys. Tre would've hit 2000 yards if he had started the season as the main back. He wasn't that far off at the end of the day anyways, what did he have? 1800?

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Feature back(s)? If it is anyone other than Robinson and Thomas, I'll be surprised.

Barring injuries, of course.

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Some snippets from Cameron Artis Payne on scouting next year's backs. Likes the guys. No drop off he believes.

http://auburn.247sports.com/Bolt/Artis-Payne-scouts-Thomas-Barber-35994566

Cameron Artis-Payne led the SEC in rushing last season with 1,608 yards and 13 touchdowns. Tre Mason led the league in rushing in 2013 with 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns. Can Auburn produce the league's leading rusher for the third straight season?

Artis-Payne talked to AuburnUndercover after the NFL Scouting Combine and scouted the Tigers' returning running backs Roc Thomas and Peyton Barber, who will compete with newcomer Jovon Robinson for carries this spring.

On Thomas: “He can be a great player. He’s quick, really good in space, very electrifying player. he has all the tools to be a great player. He’s a 5-star recruit, all-everything player. I’m looking forward to big things from him.”

On Barber: “He’s an all-around back, every down back. He has great balance and vision, and good hands. There’s not another running back that I think we have like him. At the end of the day, we have two great running backs and there won’t be a drop-off I wouldn’t think, they are talented.”

Auburn begins spring practice on March 10.

Edited by Randman5000
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