Tommy Tuberville will lead the Cincinnati Bearcats into 2014 with expectations of an AAC title this fall. The team is stocked with talent to rise to the top of their conference after coming up short in 2013 and should see a healthy uptick in production from their offense with the introduction of transfer Gunner Kiel under center. But the key for Cincinnati could be the playmaking of Ralph David Abernathy IV, who should provide a healthy spark to the Bearcats’ offense during his senior season.
Over the last few years, Abernathy has been making plays for the Bearcats out of the backfield as a running back. As a sophomore in 2012, he was an explosive change of pace back for the offense, averaging a strong 5.3 yards per carry as the team’s No. 2 back. He finished second on the team again in 2013 with 518 yards rushing on 132 attempts with five touchdowns on the ground as he struggled a bit averaging just 3.9 yards per carry.
In an effort to get Abernathy untracked for 2014, the Cincinnati coaching staff worked him out of the slot as a receiver. The move will allow the 5-foot-7, 161-pound Abernathy more room to operate and use his agility and speed to make things happen with the ball in his hands in space. The emergence of Hosey Williams at running back in 2013, when he led the team with 655 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry, allows for Abernathy to get transitioned out of the backfield without hurting their running game.
The AAC is wide open heading into 2014 and Cincinnati has a golden opportunity to seize it. For them to get it done, they will need a spark on offense to get them going. Will Ralph David Abernathy IV be the man to provide it?