The flexible fullback

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It seems strange to be breaking down the fullback position in June, but with a new Offensive Coordinator and an uncertain situation at running back, the fullbacks are kind of interesting. And Brad Rogers makes things even more interesting as he is capable of carrying the ball and could supplement the running back rotation.

The first question really is, are fullbacks even part of the Greg Davis offense? True fullbacks seem to be a dying breed in college football. Even at Iowa, this past season a fullback is only used around 20 plays a game, roughly the same amount as the third receiver.

Anyway, we're in luck...as Marc Morehouse had that same question and asked Brad Rogers yesterday. And rest assured, fullbacks will be part of Iowa's offense going forward. Not to reiterate everything from the interview, but expect Iowa's running game to be very similar to the past 13 years. Fullback will remain a big part of that as a run blocker. Also expect more passing routes for the fullbacks. Davis wants to spread the ball around beyond just the top two receivers and that includes fullbacks in addition to the tight ends (that was mostly missing last year) and the running backs (that has been mostly missing the past 13 years).

Brad Rogers' skill set will also provide the offense with some extra options. In addition to being a great lead blocker and pass blocker, he is a viable option to run the ball. He is also staying trim so he can remain an offensive weapon.

That leaves the door open for some plays where he is the primary back. I can see him being used in short yardage situations or on third down as a pass blocker. And who knows, he might even be the starting tailback like he was for the Insight Bowl.

I think the most interesting possibility is something Davis mentioned back in April when asked about Rogers:

He’s also a guy that you could, again you could see what the average fan you think would be two backs, one in the game. With Brad in the game, he could be a tailback, and your tailback could be somewhere else.

This fits in perfectly with the notion of Iowa using a no-huddle offense more often. Iowa can use its base personnel (2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 FB, and 1 RB) and switch seamlessly between a standard I-formation and 4-wide with C.J. Fiedorowicz and Damien Bullock (assuming he's the RB) splitting out in either slot. That would leave Rogers as the lone back, likely in there to block, but at least enough of a running threat to keep the defense honest. This could create some favorable mismatches for Iowa. The defense won't have time to substitute and will have to decide whether to keep in linebackers to defend a powerful downhill rushing attack or bring on extra defensive backs to counter the spread 'em out passing attack.

The other options

With Rogers out the first couple game last year, still waiting to be cleared to play after his heart issues, Matt Meyers and Jonathan Gimm flip-flopped between handling the FB duties. They both got a couple of games of starting experience while rotating during the non-conference schedule. Neither were spectacular, but with another year under their belts, should be better. There is also Air Force transfer Mark Weisman, who sat out last year, but should be ready to go this year. While I don't think any of these three will really challenge for the starting spot, if one does emerge as a viable option it would allow Rogers to focus more on running the ball instead of on blocking.

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