At Penn State, Saquon Barkley played in an offensive system that looked a lot different than any offense in the NFL. Penn State always lined up in the shotgun, and never put a fullback in front of Barkley.
Now that Barkley is a rookie with the Giants, he’s getting ready for something different in coach Pat Shurmur’s offense. Barkley said he’s learning to run behind Shane Smith, who is listed at tight end but also lines up at fullback for the Giants.
“I think it’s great to have a fullback,” Barkley told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “Honestly, I’ve never done that in college, but [I’ve been] watching film and seeing the great backs set up their blocks, and how key the fullback is. I think Shane has done a tremendous job of not only knowing what a fullback’s role is, but you can put him at any position in the offense with any route, and he’s going to know how to run it or he’s going to know how to block it. So, I continue to grow in that role, and build that relationship on the field with a fullback. I really feel like that can help take my game to that next level.”
Smith said Barkley has been working hard on learning what a running back does with a fullback in front of him.
“Saquon actually got a bunch of film from Adrian Peterson about running behind a fullback,” Smith said. “Because that’s something he really wanted to learn how to do. We also have Jonathan Stewart, so he’s helping him out. He’s so good, I think he’s going to do just fine.”
With the Giants Barkley will still get plenty of snaps as the sole running back in a shotgun formation, but he’ll also get some carries with the quarterback under center and a fullback in front of him. He’ll be ready.