With the 2017 college football season being tabbed as the year of the running back, the likes of Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, Josh Adams and Derrius Guice have caused football fans to overlook one of the best backs in the nation, Nick Chubb.
Georgia is atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings, and while coaches have slowly brought along true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, Chubb has been a staple of the Bulldogs’ offense. He has run for an SEC-leading 765 yards and nine TDs, and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Chubb’s ability to run downhill is impressive. He lacks lateral quickness but makes up for it with his ability to see the field. He’s also good at running off-tackle.
Once Chubb turns his shoulders to run downfield, he’s hard to stop. Though he eventually is brought down because of his lack of elite speed, he is consistently able to gain chunk yardage for Georgia.
Here’s another big play for Chubb. While this is an inside run, where Chubb shines is once he breaks the first layer of the defense, he has his shoulders square to be able to attack the defense.
Not all of Chubb’s big plays are for massive gains. What makes Chubb valuable is his ability to grind down a defense throughout the game.
This run from earlier this season against Notre Dame captures a lot of what makes Chubb successful. It shows his vision, his burst, his power once he gets his shoulders turned downfield and his unwillingness to go down.
Here’s another look at the same play.
Here’s a similar run.
Sometimes, Chubb will try to go away from what he does best and try too hard to make something out of nothing. There will be a little space on an inside run and he will attempt to turn the run outside. He did it here against Samford.
Notice as soon as he turns his shoulders to run to the left, he loses his burst. Chubb would have had a much more positive play if he kept his pads square with the line of scrimmage and initiated contact.
Lastly, Chubb has done well when targeted in the passing game. Though it is a rare site to see a Georgia quarterback look his way, he’s proved to be a reliable check-down target. He had 18 receptions as a true freshman in 2014 but has just 10 in the ensuing three seasons.
All in all, Chubb is a tough and physical runner whose skills translate well to the NFL. His ability to run between the tackles will be coveted, and coaches will like his natural ability to run off-tackle. Chubb has helped stabilize the Bulldogs’ offense this season and will need to be featured the rest of the season if Georgia wants to win the SEC.
(You can follow Zac Blackerby on Twitter @Zblackerby)
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