Up for the challenge, Fulse brings added dimension to fullback position
It was a Friday night in late November back in 2010. Fort Meade (Florida) High School was hosting a football playoff game. Miners defensive end Brandon Fulse seemed like a man amongst boys, completely abusing the opposing left tackle. His speed and physicality were unmatched by anyone on the field that night.
Since arriving at Auburn as a tight end, Fulse has been used sparingly in the Tigers passing game catching just 4 passes. This year the Auburn senior is making the transition to the fullback/H-back spot, another position that demands extreme physicality. As last year showed, the fullback/H-back plays a vital role in Auburn’s rushing attack.
Fulse understands what it means to move from the slot to the backfield.
“This is probably one of the keys (to the offense) besides quarterback,” Fulse said. “This is a big role. We open up holes for everybody and we hit our perimeter blocks for running backs and receivers. We mostly do it all: we go out, catch passes and protect the quarterback.”
The Tigers lead the country in rushing yards per game last season partially because of the tremendous play of fullback/H-back Jay Prosch. A human wrecking ball at the point of attack, Prosch blew up defenders, opened holes for Tre Mason and protected Nick Marshall.
“He’s as good of a fullback as there is anywhere in the country,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told AL.com last season “He makes a lot of things go that maybe the average fan doesn’t see. I’ll tell you this: If we didn’t have Jay out there, a lot of people would notice a difference.”
Cameron-Artis Payne and Corey Grant have a difficult task filling Mason’s shoes but replacing Prosch will be even harder.
“I’m gonna try to be as physical as Jay Prosch,” Fulse said. “I enjoy hitting people; not as much as Jay Prosch but I enjoy it. It’s my job and I want to do it.”
Both Lashlee and head coach Gus Malzahn realize they can’t get the exactly same production out of Fulse that they got out of Prosch.
“Brandon’s got to realize that he is Brandon Fulse, not Jay,” Lashlee said earlier this week.
The offense though gets an added dimension with Fulse at the fullback/H-back spot.
“He has very good receiving skills,” Malzahn said of Fulse. “He has a lot of versatility. He is a tough guy. He can pay with his hand down and he can be the movement guy too. I believe we will do a few more things with him. You’ll see us be a little different but, still, we have got to run the football.”