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Auburn's Running Backs-Ready To Explode Into Action


Aubie eyeing an explosive running attack!

As I write this article, it's not clear who will carry the load for Auburn against Mississippi State at the tailback spot. After having by all accounts an incredible spring and fall practice, Mario Fannin starts his season by dropping a ball during his third carry of the season.

Mario came into the season as the starting tailback, although he had never before been named the starter at that position. Last season saw Fannin play mostly the hybrid "H" back role, and succeeded rather well there. He has in the past shown flashes of brilliance running the ball.

Mario Fannin was a 4 star recruit out of Lovejoy, Georgia, according to, with 4.44 speed. recruited to the Tigers by Hugh Nall.

Running Backs Coach Curtis Luper stated in a preseason interview that Mario "hadn't fumbled:" the ball all camp. I'm feeling the pain for you Mario. No one wants you to be successful, outside of your immediate family, more than I do. Keep your head up and go forward, we are behind you.

As for Onterio McCalebb, he looked very good in most of his play. One run in particular, he started to stumble and was still fast enough to pass by one defender. Now that's fast! Stumbling, and still faster than someone, wow! I think he saw a seam to exploit and, was trying to cut to make a score, when he lost his balance. As they say, he tripped over the yard marker on the field.

Onterio signed with Auburn via Hargrave Military Institute in Virginia and finished his rivals ranking with 4 stars. and the 4th best overall player out of prep school in 2008.

Last season Onterio burst onto the scene as an unknown entity. McCalebb has a burst of speed that can can best be described as incredible! He has even shown he can catch a squirrel if he so desires.

I am sure he would say that he played alright against App State, he just needs to keep working to improve. I did see him pick up a couple of nice blocks though, and that was encouraging.

And that leaves us with Michael Dyer.

Dyer had a very good inaugural game as a Tiger. Rushing for 95 yards, Coach Luper said this week "if I had known he was sitting on 95, I would have let him go again so he could get 100". The crowd acknowledged his performance after one set in particular, with a nice round of applause. Once again Auburn fans showing their class, and knowledge of the game.

Mike, as he likes to be called, was rated by ESPN's recruiting analysts as the best running back in the 2009 class. Gifted with speed, hands, and a low center of gravity, Mike runs with good vision, has great change of direction.

This group of tailbacks have a special blend that could spell trouble for opposing defenses, add to that the explosiveness of Cam Newton, and Auburn may well have it's most explosive backfield since the days of Tommy Agee, Lionel James, and Bo Jackson.