10 Questions: Wait, Chuba’s Not Going to Be Better Than Justice, Right?

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Welcome to the third of my hopefully 10 preseason questions about Oklahoma State (at this rate, we might not even make it to five). These are, of course, unanswerable — like a lot of the writing we do — but fun for discussion and debate.Let’s jump into today’s question. Here’s a list of previous questions.1. Can you Change a Discipline Culture in One Year2. Who is RB2?3. Wait, Chuba’s Not Going to Be Better Than Justice, Right?We discussed this a bit last fall before the season was over, but it’s worth revisiting. Also, I am apparently on a RB kick right now. I think I’m done after this one. Here’s a look at two RBs through 13 games.Player A: 211 touches, 5.6 yards per touch, 6 TDsPlayer B: 146 touches, 6.6 yards per touch, 9 TDsObviously Player B is Chuba and Player A is Justice, but this comes with all the caveats. First, Chuba’s first 13 games came in his second year in college. Justice’s came in his first. That matters. Although, if you flip it to Justice’s second 13 games (in Year 2 with loads of experience), you get something somewhat similar.Player A: 299 touches, 5.5 yards per touch, 15 TDsPlayer B: 146 touches, 6.6 yards per touch, 9 TDsThe other caveat is that Chuba wasn’t the guy until late last season. He could hide a little bit behind his counterpart. Although I think it’s worth noting that 88 percent of his rush yards came against Power 5 opponents (only 83 percent of Justice’s Year 2 rush yards came against Power 5s).Regardless, there’s a world — a very conceivable one, in fact — in which Chuba Hubbard is actually a better running back than Justice Hill. Off the top, he’s faster and probably a little more versatile than Hill (who was quite versatile). Although I don’t know that his pure, built-in RB skills are quite what Hill’s were (and are).When it comes to spread offenses, though, and the trajectory football is on (and Oklahoma State has been on for a while), would you rather have a Justice Hill or a Chuba Hubbard? At worst, it’s a debate, right?The other part of this that intrigues me is how Chuba rose to the occasion in big boy games last season. Look at his four biggest rushing games from 2018.Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 2.17.06 PMArguably (inarguably?) the four best teams OSU played. Justice wasn’t a slouch here either as he was the best player on the field against OU in 2017 when the No. 1 draft pick was on the field. But Justice also did a lot of his statistical work against the Baylors and Texas Techs of the world (a more optimistic view of this is that he was mega-consistent).Ultimately I don’t think Chuba has reached Hill’s level of achievement and I would still call Hill the better RB overall, I do think the Chuba ceiling is higher. I think over the course of the next 13 games, he could have one of the more special RB seasons we’ve seen in the Gundy era — and we’ve seen some great ones.There’s a world in which you could see a 300-touch, 2,000-yard season out of Chuba that would undoubtedly be as breathtaking as it is mind-bending. Is that likely to happen? No, but the future is still hazy enough and his talent obscene enough that it’s at least on the table. We can argue until Gundy and John Smith’s cows come home about who’s better, but the reality here is that Chuba has an opportunity in 2019 to do something Hill never did. Hit that 2,000-yard mark … and play in a Big 12 title.last_img