Fannin a player to watch for Auburn

By Robert Rousseau  |   Monday, June 30, 2008  |  Comments( 0 )

Auburn Tigers
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Most expected big things from versatile Auburn Tigers running back Mario Fannin in 2007, but his numbers -- 448 rushing yards and five touchdowns -- were at least slightly disappointing. After all, fellow back Ben Tate, who didn’t get anywhere near the press that Fannin did entering last year, nearly doubled Fannin's on-the-ground total (903 yards, to be exact) and ran for three more scores. Moreover, RB Brad Lester -- who only appeared in seven games -- also out-gained Fannin as a rusher, totaling 530 yards.

As for Fannin's versatility, 176 yards receiving and two touchdowns were notable but not spectacular.

Regardless, Tigers fans should still expect plenty from Fannin in 2008.

The Tigers’ West Coast scheme from last season had simply gotten stale. During the past two seasons under former offensive coordinator Al Borges, Auburn didn't possess many players who fit its scheme. With new coordinator Tony Franklin's spread offense having been installed, however, that should change.

Fannin, who bench presses over 300 pounds, needs to be in the open field to do damage because of his shiftiness and 4.44 speed. Unfortunately, the offense just didn’t set him up for success last season; his offensive line, which should be significantly improved in '08, didn’t help much either.

But Fannin, with his open-field talents, should be outstanding in the spread. And it’s obvious that Franklin is thinking about utilizing Fannin's unique skill set when you consider the latter has lined up as a second-team wide receiver this offseason.

Good news for Auburn; bad news for the rest of the SEC.

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About Robert Rousseau

Robert Rousseau is a sports writer that has been published in a variety of print and online venues. He’s been writing for RealFootball365.com for almost three years now. When Rousseau isn’t writing about college football he tends to be penning mixed martial arts pieces for MMAFighting.com or...
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