The opening of the Tommy Tuberville era is less than three months away when the Bearcats host Purdue on Aug. 31. An influx of recruits and return of familiar stars leave an excitement of what UC can accomplish in The American.
With mass change in coaching staff comes unknown quantities up and down the roster. After holding a long conversation with Tommy Tuberville I churned out a list of the 10 players whose development will be most crucial to crossing the 10-win mark yet again.
This won't be about pointing out the top players on the roster, though some stars will make the list, this will be about pointing out those who must take a step forward and spike production in order for this team to be successful. We ran one player a day every day for two work weeks counting down to today.
Today at No. 1:
Position: Running Back
Weight: 211 pounds
2012 Stats: 16 rushes for 70 yards and a touchdown (long of 23).
The Opportunity: Ralph David Abernathy IV will not be taking all the snaps at running back. Tommy Tuberville made that clear. Somebody needs to absorb the rest of the carries and attempt to replace the repetitive consistency of George Winn for this running attack to live to the potential. Green will compete with a duet of junior college transfers and there should be a number of carries to go around with opportunity for dominating success behind an offensive line returning all five starters. Tuberville desires to be more physical and the running game could be the calling card of the initiative. That is, assuming somebody takes over the role of punishing back to complement the quickness of RDAIV.
Why development is crucial: In high school and flashes last season Green showed a game-changing playmaking ability. A penchant to slash and break tackles are what made him a top 50 athlete in the 2012 class, according to rivals.com. The emergence of Green would solidify a position group of primary concern to Tuberville, who believes in a deep rotation of starters, particularly at a position that endures the pounding of a RB in pro style. Green's shown the potential, but he'll never own a better opportunity than now to cash in.
Tommy T's Take: "I think every position we've got, we've got a mixture of youth and experience. If there is one that's probably on offense that is a big question mark is running back. Tion Green, hadn't been there done that. That's a hard position to play in college because you get the hell knocked out of you. I'd say that's a position the biggest question mark. In two-a-days we'll see what the two new guys can do, see how far Tion has come, and get a good solid plan for Ralph. (For Tion), it's just maturity. Can he carry the ball 15 times a game? Is he going to be able to hold up?"
I want to hear from you! Agree, disagree, befuddled? Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) with your thoughts on this list or anything else Bearcats football.