Texas A&M Football: Realistic Expectations for the Aggie Running Backs
The Texas A&M Football team enters the 2013 season with one of the deepest backfields in the nation. The Aggie running backs could realistically be expected to rush for over 2,000 yards as a group.
The Texas A&M running game was led by quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2012. With the maturation of running backs on the roster, and the addition of two transfers, the Aggie backfield should be as talented and deep as it has been in recent memory.
In the Southeastern Conference you have to run the ball and stop the run if you want to win football games. The Aggies' depth should allow them to suffer through some injuries without seeing a noticeable drop in production on the field.
This is a look at realistic expectations for the Aggies' running backs in 2013.
Runner Backs Should Take Pressure off Manziel
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel rushed for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2012 on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy. He should see those rushing numbers plummet in 2013.
The consensus among many pundits is that Manziel will struggle in his sophomore season at A&M. The deep stable of running backs behind Manziel should alleviate a lot of the pressure on him to make all the plays to win games.
Manziel will be able to simply hand off the ball and let his running backs do more of the heavy lifting in 2013. The ability of backs like Ben Malena, Trey Williams and Brandon Williams to take a short pass the distance should also enhance the Aggies' passing game.
The stable of running backs that Kevin Sumlin has assembled will help the Aggie offense in 2013, but no one will appreciate their presence as much as Manziel.
Ben Malena enters his senior season as the starter at running back, and one of the unquestioned leaders of the offense. His physical play in 2012 helped set the tone for the season.
Malena rushed for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 2012. He also caught 18 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
With the increased depth at the running back position, fans should expect Malena's touches to go down in 2013. Expect Malena to get around 600 yards rushing with seven or eight touchdowns.
The running backs should be a greater part of the passing game as the Aggies break in three new starting wide receivers. Expect Malena to catch 20 passes for over 200 yards and an addition five touchdowns.
Malena will graduate A&M without record-breaking statistics, but he will have been a huge part of a winning program. Malena can run the ball, catch the football and block as well as any running back in the SEC.
Every championship football team has a player like Malena who does all of the dirty work while his teammates receive praise from the media and general public at large. Aggie fans should be happy that they have an unselfish player like Malena on their team.
Trey Williams rushed for 376 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. He added 12 receptions for 171 yards. Williams should see an increased role in the offense as a sophomore in 2013.
Williams possesses tremendous speed and is a threat to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. He should be used more in the passing game and rushing the ball in 2013.
In 2012 Williams had 77 total touches on offense. He should see six to 10 carries per game and at least two or three passes per game.
If he stays healthy, Williams should expect at least 120 touches in 2013. Williams should realistically rush for over 500 yards and five touchdowns, with 200 yards receiving and another five scores through the air.
Brandon Williams could be the true X-factor for the 2013 Texas A&M football team. He could be an explosive addition to the offense that could change the defensive game plans for every team they face.
Williams has very good size for a running back at 6'0" 205 pounds. What sets him apart from other backs is his speed. Williams may be the fastest player on the Aggie roster.
In 2011 at Oklahoma Williams rushed for 219 yards on 48 carries while a freshman at Oklahoma. He transferred to Texas A&M in the spring of 2012 and say out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Head coach Kevin Sumlin will be able to use Williams' game-breaking ability to complement Johnny Manziel in the Aggies' offense. Texas A&M fans should expect Williams to lead the Ags' in rushing in 2013.
If William stays healthy, he will rush for over 700 yards with 10 touchdowns. He will catch 20 passes for over 300 yards and two more touchdowns.
Tra Carson is a 6'0" 230-pound running back who transferred to A&M from Oregon in 2012. He sat out the 2012 season, like Brandon Williams, due to NCAA transfer rules.
Carson rushed for 254 yards and one touchdown during his freshman season at Oregon. He will bring the element of pure power to the Aggies' running game in 2013.
Carson is the biggest running back on the Aggies' roster at 230 pounds. Aggie fans should expect to see him in short yardage situations, in the red zone and late in games when defenses are worn out.
Realistic expectations for Carson in 2013 are 400 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns. Carson showed some ability to catch the football in the spring game, so 10 receptions for 100 yards should be expected.