In any Paul Johnson-led offense, the A-Back position is crucial to picking up chunk yardage in the running game.
The triple-option attack requires big gains out of these edge playmakers to make up for the lack of a proficient passing offense.
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During Johnson’s regime, the running game has flourished behind the likes of Anthony Allen, Roddy Jones, Orwin Smith, and Robert Godhigh at A-Back.
Take this how you want to Jacket Nation, but those guys aren’t walking back through the door, and the current roster is made up of average players at the position.
On the bright side, the Georgia Tech football team is not lacking in experience or leadership at A-Back. Each of the five currently listed on the depth chart at RamblinWreck.com are seniors.
Tony Zenon and Charles Perkins currently sit atop Johnson’s depth chart, but competition for carries will be wide-open between now and the heart of Tech’s ACC schedule.
Zenon is the biggest wild card of the A-Back group. His impact was almost nonexistent last season, as he had only 41 yards from scrimmage in 2013.
A year prior, however, he was electric out of the backfield in limited snaps, rushing for over 6.0 yards per carry and accumulating almost 400 from scrimmage.
He’s small and shifty like Godhigh, but don’t expect him to approach Robbie’s numbers from a year ago.
Fans should be cautiously optimistic about Tony Zenon. Also, don’t expect much out of Charles Perkins. He’s injury prone and has done little to impress while at Tech. However, fully expect Synjyn Days to surpass him at the “Big A-Back” position.
Now personally, I am a supporter of Synjyn Days and believe that he’s undervalued on this team. Fans saw what he could do early in his career at quarterback, as he ran for almost 5.0 yards per carry as a backup to Tevin Washington.
He’s shown that he’s willing to take a hit, can punish defenders with his size, and is a more than capable blocker. I expect him to open holes on the edge for Zenon and Justin Thomas while also scoring five or more touchdowns himself in the red zone.
Rounding out the position group on the outside are B.J. Bostic, Deon Hill, and speed demon Broderick Snoddy.
Bostic and Hill are both athletic seniors with the ability to catch the ball from the A-Back spot.
They certainly bring depth and experience to the group, but neither has been able to establish themselves as a go-to ball carrier in the offense.
Bostic has had a history of injuries as well, and Hill is fighting an ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease that kept him out of four contests last year.
Broderick Snoddy is fast … really fast … really, really fast! He’s a red-shirt junior with some size to go along with his quickness, and he’s one of the stars of Georgia Tech’s track team.
Expect Snoddy to get a few carries per game this year, but his primary role will be on special teams. Don’t be surprised to see him take a kick to the house this season.
In conclusion, don’t expect any of the aforementioned backs in this group to become household names outside of Tech circles, but there’s enough depth and experience for this to be a serviceable bunch.
Paul Johnson will play musical chairs with his A-Backs (as usual), and 2014 won’t be the year where a new star emerges at this position.
While you may not be on board with my modest assessment of this group, we should be able to agree that the season’s fate doesn’t hang in the balance with the production of the A-Backs.
Honestly, we should be much more interested to see how the offensive line improves and how well Justin Thomas plays.