This series continues to look at some of the positional questions we have for the various SEC teams. This will not be a look at positional battles per se, instead it will be focused on aspects of those positions from last year and question what we will see in 2017.
After taking care of the quarterbacks in the two divisions of the SEC, the natural progression here is to move to the running back spot. That is exactly what we will do, starting in the West:
Can Bo Scarbrough stay healthy for Alabama?
If Bo Scarbrough does not get injured in the National Championship game then Alabama beats Clemson and Crimson Tide enter the 2017 season as the defending title holders. One broken right leg later though and Nick Saban stays stuck on five national titles and we have a whole host of questions about Scarbrough’s durability heading into the fall.
It was not like the broken leg was the giant running back’s only injury in 2016. He basically didn’t get started until the middle of November as a nagging hamstring injury was slowing him down. In a world of sensational athletes, Scarbrough is a freak. His power, speed, and physicality when running are unlike anything else in the country. All that talent is wasted though if the player cannot stay healthy enough to hit the field.
How will Derrius Guice perform as the only running back in Baton Rouge?
Leonard Fournette may have been taken with the fourth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he wasn’t even the best running back at his college last season. Fournette was expected to challenge for the Heisman Trophy in 2016, but a host of injuries and issues stopped the almost 230 pound running back from performing at his best.
That is when Derrius Guice stepped into the void at LSU and announced that he was the single best running back in college football.
Guice rushed for 1,387 yards last fall at a mind blowing clip of 7.6 yards per attempt. He chipped in for 16 total touchdowns and broke the LSU single game rushing record (set by Fournette earlier in the year) with 285 yards on the ground against Texas A&M. A threat to go all the way on every play, LSU will be hoping that an increased workload doesn’t slow down their brightest star.
Does Texas A&M know how to use Trayveon Williams?
If you were told that three SEC running backs had put up multiple runs of more than 70 yards last season you would probably be able to name Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette pretty quickly. It would take a scholar of the game though to know that the third back in that elite club is Trayveon Williams of Texas A&M.
Williams got off to a blistering start in 2016, rushing for over 700 yards in his first six games before fading down the stretch. Even when fading, Williams was able to average over five yards per carry but his carries were down as the Aggies had to throw the ball to stay in games.
Williams is an electric player who can take the ball to the house seemingly at will. Texas A&M does not have a lot of those guys on the roster, so Williams needs to be used in the rushing, passing, and return games to get the most out of his sophomore season.