Mario Fannin Can Lead the Auburn Tigers' Running Backs in 2009

Dione ThriftContributor IMarch 24, 2009

In the past four years, Auburn has had some great running backs come by; backs like "Cadillac" Williams and Ronnie Brown, and even Kenny Irons. Brad Lester is a little questionable, given his mediocre season the past last two years.

One question Auburn fans are asking themselves is, will Auburn's running game be as powerful as it was just a few years ago? Or even before that, since Auburn has produced many talented running backs.

For the upcoming season, my bet is that Mario Fannin is the go-to-guy to lead Auburn's running game.

Fannin first made his debut during a 2007 game against South Florida. When the season was over, he ended up with 448 yards on 84 attempts, with five touchdowns as a backup to Brad Lester and Ben Tate.

Surprisingly, Fannin was used more as a receiver during the 2008 season, but he did see some time in the backfield and came away with 238 yards on 54 attempts for one touchdown.

If used correctly, I think Fannin could be a huge threat and the breakout player that Auburn needs to get their new spread offense on fire.

Hopefully Gus Malzahn will do what Tony Franklin and even Steve Ensminger failed to do, which is make sure that Fannin starts instead of playing second string. He could be dangerous on screen plays and in the Wild Cat formation.

Of course, should Fannin get the starting job, he'll have plenty of help in the backfield.  With Ben Tate returning along with Eric Smith, Auburn also has some very promising backs coming up.

Incoming recruits Dontae Aycock, Onterrio McCalebb, and Brandon Jacobs could also be great help. McCalebb is already on campus and could have a great spring.

If Auburn's offense is going to be a success, the running game is going to be a big part of that success—especially on first and second down.

With that being said, will Fannin be able to lead at the running back position, or will he just play a medium role like he did last season?