Friday, November 2, 2012
Big East: Who will transform tomorrow?
By Andrea Adelson
Time for my choice as the Big East player to transform tomorrow with a big performance in Week 10.
How about Cincinnati running back/all-purpose player Ralph David Abernathy IV?
You have heard me talk all week about the huge matchup between the Syracuse run defense and the Cincinnati run offense. While George Winn has done an excellent job as the featured back, coach Butch Jones said this week the plan is to get Abernathy more involved in the run game against the Orange.
Abernathy ranks No. 2 in the Big East in all-purpose yardage with 145.1 yards per game. But the most carries he has had in a game is 10, set last week against Louisville. Winn had 26 carries in that game, and is averaging about 18 carries per game. That is more than double what Abernathy is averaging.
"We are going to be seeing more of him this week and we’ve challenged him this week in pass protection," Jones said. "He will be seen more as an every down running back this week in terms of pass protection. We have done a great job of being able to play to his talents, get him the ball, create space for him and we are going to challenge him this week to be more of a running back, not just a runner and specialty player."
Abernathy and Winn are different players, so they could definitely be used to complement each other. And Abernathy can be effective in the passing game as well.
"You’ll see both of them but also you’ll see Ralph Abernathy, we are going to move him out on the perimeter of our offense, so you’ll see him lined up at our X or Z position and that is the great thing when we talk about the intangibles of a great football player is knowledge is power," Jones said. "He knows our entire offense and knows every single position spot, he even knows the tight end position, knows everything from the running back position so we have the luxury now of being able to really move him around from our X position to our Z position to the running back position. He will be seen more in that regard but he’ll split carries with George Winn."
Also note that Syracuse might be without starting defensive tackle Jay Bromley, who will be a game-time decision Saturday. That would be a big blow for a Syracuse front that faces a huge challenge this weekend.