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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Versatility a blessing and curse for Fannin

I wrote a story on Mario Fannin for today's newspaper. Here's how it starts:

AUBURN, Ala. — Every day he walks into the interview room after practice, Auburn’s Mario Fannin gets asked which position he played.

Every day seems to provide a different answer.

At times, the junior is an H-back; at others, he is a running back. He has dabbled some as a slot wide receiver and will be one of the first in line to return kicks. And, with his background as a high school quarterback, he always is a contender to get in the game when the Tigers use the Wildcat formation.

“I kind of like moving around,” Fannin said, not giving a preferred position. “(But) it’s not really about what I like. Whatever is going to help us win, that’s what I want to do.”

As with the former coaching staff, Gene Chizik and his crew think highly enough of Fannin’s versatility to use him in a variety of roles. While Fannin officially is listed as a running back on the roster, he is better described as an H-back, a hybrid role that includes elements from the tailback, fullback and tight end positions.

Read the rest of the story here.

It will be interesting to see how Auburn uses Fannin. Tommy Tuberville seemed to like Fannin in a variety of roles. It just never seemed like he and his staff knew quite what to do with him, though.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has what seems like the perfect spot for Fannin, the H-back position he utilized with great success at Tulsa. Fannin isn't quite as big as the player the Golden Hurricane used in that role, but it seems to be a position that isn't overlooked by the coaching staff. And, if Malzahn and Co. are serious about spreading touches around the offense, Fannin should finally have his chance to consistently show what he can do on a football field.

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