|Rawls' 63-yard TD run against Illinois in garbage time this season, was his career long, by far.|
Brad, no one, and I mean no one has said a word about Rawls not playing. Not you, not any of the other blogs, not the papers, not the radio, not TV, NO ONE! What gives?Well Mike, Thomas Rawls' absence from the Outback Bowl was not widely reported, and I agree it was something that went unnoticed by many, unless you were on Twitter in the second half. Unnoticed and unreported, because frankly, I doubt anyone figured he'd be much of a contributor.
But aside from just mentioning the fact that he didn't play, there's not much else I can tell you. A guy like Rawls, or Fitz for that matter, isn't going to garner a lot of yards behind an offensive line as awful as Michigan's. I think the coaches saw the need to get the ball into the hands of smaller, faster running backs in an effort to spread out defenses and get the ball in space...hence Vincent Smith and Shoelace.
Until Hoke and Funk can grow the young OL talent they have coming up through the system right now, a slow but steady march towards a more Michigan style running game can be expected. But this season, we just weren't there yet. 2013 should mark the beginning of that era.
Rawls has been rarely hit and mostly miss throughout his career so far. Never having eclipsed the century mark in yards in any of his 11 games over the last 2 years in which he's had carries, Thomas Rawls has been primarily a 3rd or 4th option behind Denard, Toussaint and/or Smith...with so-so results.
The running back position is wide open for 2013. With Fitz hopefully getting healthy again and guys like Justice Hayes, Drake Johnson, Wyatt Shallman, and possibly a yet-to-be-named 5-star recruit for the 2013 class, Rawls could face some stiff competition for touches down the road. A healthy Fitz seems like the front-runner right now, but of course spring ball is still 3 1/2 months away.