After practice yesterday, a reporter who went back and counted up the broken tackles from Penn State running backs in their game against Rutgers last Saturday asked James Franklin about the importance of broken tackles for his guys that tote the rock.
Franklin responded by offering up the single most important statistic on grading running backs, in his opinion.
"We do the same thing, we track broken tackles, but the stat that is most important to being a running back in YAC yards."
"If the hole is wide open and the guy just runs for 80 yards and no one touches him, that's about the o-line. Obviously the running back having speed is important, but it's about how much you can bring, that the scheme and the o-line didn't get you. So that free hitter, can you make him miss or can you break tackles."
"YAC yards, everyone thinks is 'Yards After Contact' but depending on your style of running, like Mark Allen for example, it's still YAC yards if you make the guy miss, or break the tackle, however you do it. We track all of those things, and to me, it is by far the most important statistic on grading a running back week in and week out."