Sep 13, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Josh Robinson (34) during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Robinson forfeited his remaining year of eligibility after 2014. Would he have had more success than the current running backs in 2015?
We all know Mississippi State struggled to do anything when it came to running the football in 2015. The rants from bloggers like myself to fans on Twitter and Facebook are all out there for you to find.
But I was cleaning out my likes this morning on Twitter because that is what I often use to capture tweets I want to use here on the site. I came across this tweet from last season from one of the more popular Ole Miss Twitter accounts.
You’ll notice it was posted on September 23 of last season before Mississippi State went on their tear in October. So the question is how much better would the running game have been if Robinson had stuck around for another season?
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There isn’t any way to know. We had a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” type debate throughout the 2015 season about what was the bigger problem, the running backs or the offensive line. And ultimately, I think the answer is simply that none of them were really very good.
So would Josh Robinson have been any better behind the offensive line we put on the field in 2015? I don’t think there is any doubt the answer is yes, but how much better?
I don’t think his running stats would have looked like the 2014 running stats. Getting him to a 1,000 yards rushing would have been a struggle with this offensive line. But the one area Josh Robinson thrived in 2014 was getting yards after he was hit. The running back Mississippi State relied on the most in 2015 was Brandon Holloway. Holloway has some nice tools at his disposal, but getting yards after contact is not one of them.
Holloway was able to average 4.7 yards a carry this season. Most of his carries went one of two ways. 1 or 2 yards gained because he was hit at the line, or he was able to find holes and get 8 to 10 yard carries. That wasn’t the way they all went, but it’s a pretty good summary. What could Robinson have done differently?
I think he turns a lot of the runs where backs were hit at the line for minimal gains into 3-5 yard carries. He wouldn’t have averaged the 6.3 yards per carry he did in 2014, but he likely would have eclipsed the 4.7 yards per carry Holloway averaged.
I don’t know if returning would have made Robinson’s draft stock rise any higher, but it wouldn’t have fallen. NFL Scouts would have seen any reduction in numbers were directly attributable to the offensive line in front of him.
It makes me sad on another level as well. Josh Robinson was recently waived a few weeks ago by the Indianapolis Colts. If he had returned, he would have been playing meaningful football this season. My understanding is he is still on the practice squad for the Colts, but another year of fine tuning his skills most certainly would have been nice to see.
Would Josh Robinson have made an impact on the Win-Loss Record for Mississippi State? Against Alabama, no. It might have made a difference against Ole Miss, but I doubt it. But the games against LSU and Texas A&M might have been different. Unfortunately, we’ll never know.