Auburn Football: Running Shouldn't Be a Problem This Year

Dione Thrift@DThriftWarEagleContributor IJune 16, 2009

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 31:  Ben Tate #44 of the Auburn University Tigers runs against Chris Chancellor #38 of the Clemson University Tigers during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on December 31, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

We all remember how last year's season went, especially on offense. A few things that bothered me the most about last year's offense: There was no real running game, and running plays resulted in negative yardage or no yardage on first down. 

When Auburn fired their coordinator, Tony Franklin, they tried to go from the spread to a more traditional running game. But offensive linemen were required to lose weight for the spread offense, thus resulting in tough outcomes against SEC defensive linemen.

This year there's a new coach and staff on the plains. Gene Chizik became the new head coach at Auburn, and he hired Gus Malzhan as the offensive coordinator. Some people are skeptical about Malzhan's spread offense.

During the Auburn A-Day game we all saw some of what to expect from the offense this fall. When Ben Tate broke out for a 60-yard touchdown, I was pretty impressed. The one thing I was most impressed with: plenty of running plays.

One thing that might be a problem is the lack of depth at the offensive line position.  Hopefully injuries won't be a problem this year, but the good news is that most of the offensive linemen are back in the 300-pound area or are en route to it. 

I think that it is safe to say that the running back position is one that Auburn doesn't have to worry about. This is one of the few positions on the team that is loaded with talent. Look for Ben Tate, Onterrio McCalebb, Justin Albert, and even Mario Fannin to get some touches rushing this year.

The fact of the matter is that running the football is an absolute must if the Auburn offense is to be successful this year. A consistent QB will also help.

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