FootballScoop is proud to announce that Bryan McClendon (Georgia) is the 2014 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year presented by ProGrass.
Bryan McClendon started this season with a Heisman Trophy contender and two capable back-ups. He ended it with a true freshman, and Georgia was able to run the ball just the same.
Todd Gurley carried the Bulldogs for the first half of the season and looked every bit like the best player in the nation, ripping off 15 carries for 198 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Clemson, 131 against South Carolina, 208 and two touchdowns against Tennessee and 163 and two touchdowns in a blowout of Vanderbilt. Then Gurley was suspended for four games, and freshman Nick Chubb came on like a freight train.
Chubb's first start came in a 34-0 drubbing of SEC East champion Missouri, rushing 38 times for 143 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with 202 yards and two scores in a win over Arkansas. In seven starts, Chubb never rushed for less than 113 yards (and that came on just nine carries in a 55-9 win over Charleston Southern) and scored at least one touchdown in all of them.
Despite not starting a game until mid-October, Chubb finished second in the SEC with 1,281 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries - good for 6.89 yards per carry, half a yard better than any other SEC rusher with at least 170 carries. And despite playing in only one game after the midpoint of the season, Gurley finished ninth in the SEC with 911 yards and nine touchdowns on 123 carries - good for 7.41 yards per carry, second best among all runners in the conference.
As a unit, Georgia ran the ball 502 times for 3,060 yards (255 per game, 13th nationally), 35 touchdowns (11th) and 6.1 yards per carry (seventh). The Dogs also ripped off 30 rushes of 20 yards and 20 rushes of 30 yards or more, both of which rank among the top 10 nationally.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told FootballScoop, "Coach McClendon gets young guys ready to play better than anybody I've ever been around. He has done it 4 years in a row and his guys keep producing. He is a big reason for the success that we have had at UGA."
A former Bulldogs wide receiver, McClendon is in his eighth year as a member of Mark Richt's coaching staff - two as a graduate assistant, and the last six as running backs coach. He was also added to recruiting coordinator duties in 2014. McClendon is a native of Chicago, Ill.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by ProGrass are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Deland McCullough [Indiana], Cale Gundy [Oklahoma] and McClendon) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
McClendon will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.
Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012) and Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013).
2 running backs with at least 900 yards
11th Nationally - Rushing Touchdowns
7th Nationally - Yards Per Carry
13th Nationally - Rushing Offense
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