Auburn Football: How The 2017 Season May Bring Less Rushing Yards

Jan 2, 2017; New Orleans , LA, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Kamryn Pettway (36) carries the ball against the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Here we take a look at the 2017 Auburn football season and how there might be less rushing involved in the offense following recent additions.

It’s safe to say that the addition of Chip Lindsey as Auburn football‘s offensive coordinator will impact the Plains more than most people think. He’s being heralded as a quarterback guru — Auburn has seven of those — and comes from Arizona State, where in 2016 the Sun Devils failed to have a 1,000-yard rusher despite having a running back (Kalen Ballage) being No. 2 in the PAC 12 in touchdowns.

To be fair, the Sun Devils did have 1,578 yards in total with their two running backs, Demario Richard and Ballage hitting 593 and 536 yards, respectively. This is, however, nearly 2,000 yards less than Auburn’s 3,527 on almost 200 more carries. Just looking at the numbers on how Lindsey wanted his offense to be run, I’m going to say he didn’t actually enjoy running.

With the introduction of Jarrett Stidham at Auburn, along with Sean White‘s return, Lindsey will have quarterbacks available to run the offense that he wants to run. It’s that simple.

Sadly, how things go at Auburn with 1,000-yard rushers for several consecutive seasons, this is going to be a little awkward for Tiger fans to grasp. I mean, the last time that Auburn had a capable quarterback — Nick Marshall does not count — Cam Newton was on the field. Even then, Newton still rushed for 1,473 yards in addition to his 2,854 yards passing.

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In case anyone forgot who the offensive coordinator was at that time, it’s safe to say that guy isn’t calling plays any longer.

Auburn even has a guy with 25/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy in Kamryn Pettway with a supporting cast of Kerryon Johnson and 4-star recruit Devan Barrett. The possibilities are endless on the rushing side of the ball, not to mention Stidham and White both possessing some talent in taking off for some yardage.

All the pieces are there for Auburn to run the ball, but Lindsey makes the situation fairly awkward to consider.

The first thing he did while offensive coordinator was go and personally recruit 3-star tight end John Samuel Shenker, someone he has a connection with. Shenker is also joined by 6-foot-6, 230-pound Salvatore Cannella from Scottsdale Community College. With the evolution of the tight end position in football, Lindsey can dabble all he can with his quarterback feng shui — maybe I’m using that incorrectly — and offensive weaponry. Not to mention the weapons that still exist from last season’s recruitment in Nate Craig-Myers and Eli Stove.

All I’m saying  is if there’s any time for Auburn to not have a 1,000-yard rusher,  it’s going to come out of the 2017 season. There are too many weapons at the receiver position and far too many quarterbacks capable of throwing the ball down the field for Lindsey to run the ball.

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