Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Aggie Snapshot: RB Ben Malena
By Sam Khan Jr.
During the summer, GigEmNation will take a closer look at returning starters and other key players on the two-deep for Texas A&M -- excluding the Aggies' 2013 recruiting class -- that could make notable impact this fall in our Aggie Snapshot series. Starting with No. 1 De'Vante Harris, the series will follow the roster numerically through our final analysis of No. 95 Julien Obioha.
From No. 1 De'Vante Harris to No. 95 Julien Obioha, GigEmNation is evaluating the Texas A&M two-deep numerically. View the entire Aggie Snapshot series.
Impact thus far: Malena has seen the field since his true freshman season in 2010 and has gradually seen his workload increase each year. After limited action as a freshman and a little bit more as a sophomore, Malena started nine games last season and had more carries than any other Aggie running back. He was second on the team in rushing yards (808) only behind quarterback Johnny Manziel, and he caught more passes than any other Aggies running back, hauling in 18 receptions. His proficiency as a pass blocker was an asset to the Texas A&M spread offense and he has been a willing special-teams player, even when he became the primary starter last year.
Expectations for 2013: Last season, Malena's emergence as the go-to running back was a mild surprise. If that's the case again this fall, it won't be. He will have to share the carries, just as he did last season with Christine Michael and Trey Williams. This year, Trey Williams returns and Tra Carson and Brandon Williams join the fray. Considering Malena's experience and versatility, expect him to start again. He should have another solid campaign.
Best-case scenario in 2013: New offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney, who is also the running backs coach, finds more ways to get Malena involved in the offense and he starts every game for the Aggies in his final season. Malena passes the 1,000-yard mark in a season for the first time in his career and has 10-plus touchdowns.
Worst-case scenario in 2013: Because of the presence of four quality running backs, there aren't enough carries to go around and Malena sees his role diminished significantly.
Future impact: Malena's reliable and versatile, and those two things bode well for his senior season. He performed well in this offense a year ago and another offseason in it should give him a chance for an even bigger role this year.