You gotta run.

Between the rapid adoption of no-huddle spread attacks and some truly stellar quarterbacking talent, 2013 could be shaping up as an unprecedented season for the passing game in the SEC.  The running game, on the other hand…

The ascent of potentially elite arms arrives as the SEC’s stable of running backs has ebbed.

South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Alabama’s Eddie Lacy jumped to the NFL. Florida’s Mike Gillislee and Vanderbilt’s Zac Stacy graduated. At LSU, sophomore Jeremy Hill’s status is unclear after an arrest after an off-campus bar fight left him suspended indefinitely. Only Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are ready-made ball-carriers rolling off the assembly line.

Now there’s a certain chicken-and-egg aspect to that – are running backs in decline because of less demand, given the vibrant passing attacks, or are SEC offenses relying on the pass more because of a decline in the quality of their running games?  And I don’t want to overdo it too much, because there are going to be places like Arkansas, Florida and LSU that will be strongly committed to the run this season even with new running backs.  Plus, there’s too much talent that flows into the conference every year for there not to be new stars to emerge.

But there’s still a certain hit-or-miss aspect to this that, barring injury, Alabama and Georgia are immune to.  How big a deal do you think that will be this season?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “You gotta run.

  1. Bobby

    There aren’t any offenses in the SEC that are so pass-heavy that they wouldn’t benefit tremendously from a good rusher. So, I don’t think RBs are in less demand. I think any offense in the SEC aspires to have a formidable running game (perhaps not Mizzou or TAMU), and there is always a place in such an offense for a good back.

    If anything, I could see the latter explanation in your “chicken-and-egg” question being the case. With college offenses trending toward more pass-aggressive schemes, many talented high school RBs prefer to sign with a more offensively balanced team. That might necessitate the need for some OCs to emphasize the pass more, but I think that’s just a natural response out of necessity. Any offense in the SEC would prefer to have a more dynamic, balanced offense with a credible rushing attack.

    Pass-happy teams might be failing on the recruiting front to persuade talented high school RBs to sign, but that’s not because they don’t covet a good running game. This trend could start to reverse itself once one of these teams is able to sign a good back and feature him in an offense that is pass-happy (or even QB-run heavy). Probably the best example of this sort of thing is Auburn’s use of Cam Newton and Michael Dyer.

  2. Mg4life0331

    The threat of the run is just as effective as the run itself. Remember when we played 2 deep safeties most of the Tennessee game? We got gashed. We brought em down one play and one of their wideouts missed one wide open. Its a pick your poison kinda thing I feel like.

  3. shane#1

    A wide open, no huddle, spread passing attack could help the running game. You force the D into a nickle package and open running lanes for the backs. A back like Gurley or Marshall could take it to the house on any play, and you don’t need ‘Bama style road graders on the O line because the D is playing back on it’s heels and is minus a LB.

  4. Rebar

    I’m afraid its because we are following the Pro game; running backs won’t last but a multi faceted back who can catch one out of the backfield is good money.

    • Cojones

      Well, we have a TE named Rome who can run like a gazelle and catch passes over his shoulder while in an awkward position and keeping his feet inbounds. With the backfield able to catch passes plus WRs who fight for the ball……..

      Our running backs will last and last and last when you have two great ones supported by several good ones and recruits who are ready to take their place in the near future. Bobo’s O Machine (UGA’s BOM) has replacement cogs to continue it’s running like new. Every game.

  5. Will Trane

    Without the benefit of the rosters I am not sure who has the best returning lines. Probably LSU, Tennessee, Bama, and Georgia. If you can run the ball, control the lead, control the pace, and control the clock …should we a lot of games. But Bama may question that based on how close the SECCG was with the Dawgs flying down the field passing.