Moment of Truth: The Best California Running Back of the Decade

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 20, 2009

Moment of Truth: The Best California Running Back of the Decade

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    Over the past decade the California Golden Bears have had a series of tremendous running backs.

    There have been a significant number of 1,000-yard rushers for the Bears during the decade. Joe Igber, Adimchinobe Echemandu, JJ Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Jahvid Best have all eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.

    There have been some good ones and some great ones over the years but it all comes down to this.The moment of truth: Who is the best California running back of the Decade? You'll have to wait and see. Hope you enjoy!

2000, '01, and '02: Joe Igber

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    Joe Igber started the streak of California running backs that hit the 1,000 yard marker. In 2002, Igber ran for 1130 yards on 241 carries for a 4.7 yards per carry average and seven touchdowns.

    In 2000, Igber rushed for 901 yards on 195 carries for a 4.6 yards per carry average, and five touchdowns.

    For the 2001 season which was his worst due to injury and only appearing in six games, he rushed for 399 yards on 94 carries for a 4.2 yards per carry average, and just two touchdowns.

    Igber was an exciting running back when he was at Cal. He was a smaller back and at times resembled Barry Sanders. Since he was able to hide behind his offensive linemen

2003: Adimchinobe Echemandu

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    Adimchinoe Echemandu was a much bigger back then Igber. Echemandu went 5'10", 225 pounds, so he was much more of a bruiser and could be used in goal line situations.

    In 2003, he rushed for 1195 yards on 238 carries for a five-yards-per-carry average, and even more impressive was the 13 touchdowns he scored on the ground.

2003, '04: J.J. Arrington

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    J.J. Arrington had the greatest season in Bears history in terms of running the football in 2004, but prior to that season he was the backup for the Bears in 2003.

    For the 2003 season, he did do very well. He had 107 carries for 607 yards for a 5.7 yards per carry average, and also scored five touchdowns.

    During the 2004 season though, he was just outstanding. How he wasn't in the heisman race is beyond me. Arrington carried the ball 289 times for 2018 yards and scored 15 times on the ground, and he averaged an amazing seven yards per carry.

2004, '05, and '06: Marshawn Lynch

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    Marshawn Lynch was an incredible talent for the Bears. He backed up Arrington for a year and then inherited the starting role. He did extremely well for all three years he was on the team.

    But what made Lynch special was his toughness. In his last year with the Bears, he played on two sprained ankles and still put up incredible numbers, but let's start off with his first season as a Bear.

    In 2004, Lynch carried the ball 71 times for 628 yards and in that time he scored eight touchdowns, and averaged 8.8 yards per carry. Not bad for a backup to a running back who ran for 2000 yards!

    The 2005 season was another fine season by a California running back. Lynch carried the ball 196 times for 1246 yards, had 10 touchdowns, and averaged 6.4 yards per carry.

    As mentioned before, his last season as a Bear which was 2006 is when Lynch played on the two badly sprained ankles. Yet, even though he had the injuries he carried the ball 223 times for 1356 yards, 11 touchdowns, and an average of 6.1 yards per carry.

2004, '05, '06, and '07: Justin Forsett

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    Justin Forsett was the running back with the most patience and when he got his chance he showed what he could do.

    For his first three seasons at Cal he was the backup to Arrington and Lynch, but in his senior year he finally got to start and show what he could do!

    You wouldn't think a backup would make a big difference especially considering he started out as the third string running back as a freshman, but roster placement can be deceiving.

    In 2004, Forsett's numbers weren't that impressive he carried the ball just 11 times for 49 yards, he did have one touchdown, and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.

    When 2005 rolled around, he immediately became known. He was just one yard away from 1,000 and that would have meant that Lynch and Forsett both rushed for 1,000 yards in that season.

    But it didn't happen and Forsett managed 999 yards on 132 attempts for a 7.6 yards per carry average, and finished with six touchdowns.

    In 2006, once again, Forsett was behind Lynch. He carried the ball 119 times for 636 yards for a 5.3 yards per carry average, and he scored just four touchdowns.

    2007 was the year that Forsett got to shine. It's hard to believe that Forsett actually ran for more yards than Lynch, but he did. Forsett was a work horse he carried the ball 305 times for 1551 yards which meant each carry he had was 5.1 yards , and he scored 15 touchdowns.

2007, '08, and '09 so far: Jahvid Best

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    Jahvid Best may have been one of the most hyped recruits in California history and he hasn't disappointed. With his speed and his ability to make people miss, he's a threat to score anytime he has the ball.

    The one problem in Best's young career at Cal has been his injury issues. He lost most of his freshman season to a hip injury and last year he dislocated his elbow and sprained an ankle.

    So far this year, Best has been healthy and has had some incredible highlights while also having some bad performances against solid teams.

    In 2007, Best carries the ball 28 times for 213 yards on a 7.6 yard per carry average, and had two touchdowns.

    In 2008 though, Best really left his mark he carried the ball 194 times for 1580 yards for an average of 8.1 yards per carry, and he scored 15 touchdowns.

    So far this year, it has been pretty much like the last year for him, except for that he hasn't been injured. In six games though, he's already at nine touchdowns and 616 yards. If there's no injury, he'll easily get to 1,000 yards. It's just a matter how many times Best will find the end zone.

The Winner for Best of the Decade: Marshawn Lynch

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    Marshawn Lynch was the best running back the Bears have had in the decade.

    While Best, Arrington, and Forsett had some great seasons, Lynch was the only one that had two 1,000-yard seasons as well as multiple seasons of over double digit touchdowns.