Jaguars believe Callaway alum Tank Bigbsy is poised for a breakout sophmore season

Published 11:57 am Wednesday, July 10, 2024

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Tank Bigsby is heading into a pivotal season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a rookie season in 2023 that saw the former Callaway Cavalier play sporadically behind star running back Travis Etienne, Bigsby is poised for a breakout sophomore campaign.

With another offseason to learn the playbook and get used to the physicality of the NFL level, Bigsby has been showing signs of progress. 

“He [had] an opportunity to kind of sit back last year, see exactly what this league is all about,” said the Jaguars running back coach Jerry Mack this offseason, via The Florida Times-Union. “And he’s been great so far this offseason, just the way he’s attacked every single day.”

Bigsby finished his rookie season with 50 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite receiving playing time in all 17 regular season games as a rookie, he was out of the rotation for much of the home stretch, not receiving a carry in three of the final six games of the season for the Jaguars with the big exception of the Jaguars’ 26-0 win over the Carolina Panthers in week 17 that saw Bigsby have his most playing time yet, turning 10 carries into 32 yards.

Etienne was the bell cow last year with 267 carries with Bigsby second on the team with 50 carries. Ettiene has not missed a game the last two seasons, accumulating 2,133 rushing yards, but the Jaguars are looking to limit the amount of wear and tear on their starting running back.

Any plans Jacksonville has to cut the workload for Etienne will rely on the development of Bigsby. 

Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson spoke to the media earlier this week about the plan to enhance Bigby’s role in the offense this year.

“Yeah, it’s hard to put necessarily a rep count on it but you do want to keep him as healthy as you can throughout the season,” Pederson said in his press conference. “That’s why — we’ve talked about this too as a staff and myself — making sure Tank [Bigsby] gets opportunities to get out there and take some of the pounding off of Travis.

“Again, just taking another step, Year 3 with us in the offense and just seeing his growth. I think there’s more out there that he can get yard-wise. It’ll definitely be an emphasis utilizing him more so in the run game and making sure that those yards that are there that we’re doing the right things, we’re hitting the right holes, we’re anticipating defenders and blocking schemes and all that kind of stuff. Then being able to take the wear and tear off him with Tank.”

The Jaguars had high hopes for Bigsby when they took him in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft. His rookie year was a mixed bag of highs and lows as he came to grips with the NFL.

This was in stark contrast to life at Auburn, where despite a torrid offensive line, Bigsby racked up video game numbers. The former Tiger tallied 541 carries for 2.906 yards and 25 touchdowns during his three seasons with Auburn. Bigsby left Auburn as the seventh-highest rusher in school history.

“I think he understood last year, being new to the National Football League, everything was extremely fast for him,” Mack said when asked about Bigsby’s growth this offseason. “I think now things are starting to slow down for him. He understands his role in this offense. He’s understanding the ins and outs of the offense a lot better as well.”

Bigsby’s development will be instrumental if the Jacksonville rushing attack is to take a step forward this season. The word around Jacksonville is that he is just the man to help push the Jaguars’ rushing offense over the top.