I posted this over at philsteele.com on the Auburn team page blog. I thought you might like it.
Auburn has been known as RUNNING BACK U for some time now. Some still try and compare USC, Ohio State, and a few others with the Tigers from the Loveliest Village, and that debate goes on.
As for the claim it’s self, let’s look at the past some other time. Today we focus on the Ausome year Ben Tate had.
Ben Tate led all Auburn rushers with 1,362 yards on 263 attempts. He scored 10 touchdowns, and averaged 5.2 yards per carry, and 104.8 per game. Good enough for third* in the conference.
Before the season ever started, Coach Luper, the Auburn running backs coach, predicted Tate would rush at least 1,000 yards this season. I wonder if the coach has this weeks’ lottery numbers?
The overwhelming edge a good running back has is the offensive line’s ability to run block. The gentlemen in charge of clearing the road for Ben were recruited at Auburn for just that reason. Experienced, talented, and eager to put 2008 behind them, this group of offensive linemen, deserve a lot of credit for Ben’s success this year.
The tight ends, and receivers did an excellent job of down field blocking this season as well.
But the true measure of a great running back is how many yards he gains after initial contact. Big Ben did an excellent job this year of staying on his feet, driving his legs, and leaning forward when he was going to the ground.
By all measures Ben Tate will be playing in the NFL next year. It seems that the league covets Auburn running backs, and they will really be eager to get Mr. Tate in the fold of professional football.
Now for Auburn the task is, who will replace Ben Tate?
Can you replace a Ben Tate?
Since this is RUNNING BACK U, my gut instinct is, that Auburn has a back up, waiting. Knowing full well, that the road to the NFL running back stardom goes through Auburn.
* stats come from cfbstats.com