Tavon Austin had only carried the ball 14 times over the first nine games heading into West Virginia’s matchup up against nationally-ranked Oklahoma, which boasted one of the top defenses in college football last season.
On this day the decision was made to move the diminutive receiver to running back. Austin responded with a school-record 344 rushing yards and finished with a staggering 572 all-purpose yards, seven shy of the NCAA record.
“Our plan was off against Tavon Austin, they kind of caught us with our pants down,” said Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, “and we didn’t have really an answer.”
As we mentioned a couple weeks back, Chip Kelly has to be intrigued by Austin. How could an offensive junkie not be drawn to a playmaker who has caught over 100 balls each of the last two seasons, and finished his senior year with almost 2,000 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns? Kelly wants versatile players. Austin lines up all over the field, and returns kicks and punts as well. Kelly wants guys that can create matchup problems. Austin, as Stoops can attest, can do just that.
The question is: Would the new Eagles coach use his first-ever draft pick on the 5-8 wideout?
This is what Sal Paolantonio had to say on 97.5 The Fanatic this week:
“Here is what a general manager told me [on Monday]: ‘I know the Eagles want a tackle.’ And if those are all gone, he said, ‘Don’t be shocked if Chip Kelly takes Tavon Austin No. 4,’” said Paolantonio.
“He’s a little guy but the NFL now is a spatial relations league. Open space. What are you doing with a lot of space and how are you filling it? Which to me is the way to go right now because you can’t touch these wide receivers between the hash marks.”
The Eagles had not visited with Austin as of last week, from what we understand. But they were apparently in contact with him recently.
The #Eagles reached out to Tavon Austin yesterday, doing more due diligence. They’d be willing to move back. Covering their bases in case?
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 23, 2013
So what does it all mean?
Kelly is a complete wild card. He is unconventional in a lot of respects, and he has no history on this level to reference when looking for guidance. Could he see Austin as a perfect match for his offense? Sure.
If Austin is the selection, it likely won’t be at 4. One league insider we spoke with predicted that he will go somewhere between picks eight and 12. Some project him to be taken later than that.
There has been a good deal of buzz about the Eagles looking to move back in the first round. That could certainly be the case if the top tackles are off the board when they go on the clock. Would they slide back a few spots and roll the bones on Austin?
It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. And this is not your ordinary coach. We don’t know enough yet to rule it out completely.
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