Mark Edwards In My Opinion: It’s not unusual for top runners to play defense
by Mark Edwards
medwards@annistonstar.com
Aug 03, 2013 | 3696 views |  0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With Oxford star running back Racean Thomas picking Auburn, his high school coach, Ryan Herring, mentioned he would make an excellent defensive back, if the Tigers choose to put him on that side of the ball.

About 20 years ago, it would’ve been crazy to take a stud running back prospect and even think of putting him at defensive back. These days, it’s not such a bad idea.

College teams still need great running backs, but not as much as they once did. However, they need defensive backs in greater numbers than ever. With so many college teams running spread offenses designed to throw often and run as many plays as possible, defenses can’t survive any longer by throwing four good defensive backs on the field and leaving them out there all day.

Colleges sometimes commonly use alignments that involve five or six players in the secondary. They aren’t the same players every down, either. They might use as many as eight or nine defensive backs in a game.

As a result, every team in the Southeastern Conference has a defensive back or two who would’ve played running back or receiver 20 years ago.

There’s a footnote to all of this, too — NFL teams need lots of defensive backs, too. If a guy is fast, he can play running back. If he’s still fast when he’s running backward, he can play defensive back and make a lot of money.

Contact Anniston Star Sports Editor Mark Edwards at medwards@annistonstar.com. Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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