April 15, 2009

Versatility pays off for Fannin

Mario Fannin doesn't know exactly what to tell people when they ask what position he plays.

When a player moves around as much as Fannin has this spring - and for the last few years, really - it's easy to understand.

Coaches say he'll do a little bit of everything this year. He will line up at H-back, slot receiver and tailback at different times. He might even take direct snaps in the Wildcat formation.

Fannin might not have a position to call home, but he likes his current situation.

"I wouldn't say just put me in the backfield," Fannin said. "Me and Coach Jay Boulware have had plenty of talks about being a versatile back and how much they're valued. That's something I think I could do and Coach Boulware told me I could do it also.

"That's mainly what I'm trying to focus on, not just one angle but catching the ball out of the backfield and playing some slot. It works out great."

Fannin is a significant part of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's plan to get the best 11 players on the field.

Fannin's versatility gives Auburn an opportunity to get both he and tailback Ben Tate on the field at the same time.

Malzahn has reiterated several times that Auburn will be a predominantly running offense this year, but he also wants to get the ball to Fannin in different ways.

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