PHOENIX — At one point this season, former Utah State running back Robert Turbin found himself as the fill-in fullback for the Seattle Seahawks.
When starter Derrick Coleman broke his foot midseason, the Seahawks needed someone to block for Marshawn Lynch until a full-time replacement could be found. In stepped Turbin.
"Being able to jump in there and play fullback, that wasn’t something he had even practiced," Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Because of his preparation, because of his understanding of what we are trying to get done, he was able to make that adjustment with very short preparation time."
In his third year in the NFL, Turbin continues to show off his versatility and willingness to do whatever is asked to help his team win. That has translated to Turbin scoring the first two regular-season touchdowns of his career, starting three games this season, and helping Seattle reach its second-straight Super Bowl, on Sunday against New England.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson called Turbin a "starting-type running back," a strong complement to the starter Lynch.
“I think for us, our running game relies on Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin to do their job, and they do a phenomenal job," Wilson said. "Our offensive line does a great job of creating lanes and creating holes for them."
While his numbers during the postseason have been minimal to this point — he has nine rushes for 27 yards — Turbin put up his strongest regular season in his young career. The back rushed for 310 yards, including a 4.2-yard-per-carry average, and had 186 receiving yards, as well as two touchdown catches.
"It's just about getting better and taking advantage of the opportunities that are given," Turbin said. "I think I've just improved overall as a player and been able to make plays this year. Hopefully I just continue to grow."
Turbin also has the added benefit of working alongside one of the league's top running backs in Lynch, whose eight-year pro career includes five Pro Bowl selections, two NFC championship crowns and twice leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns.
"It's not so much what he teaches me, it's more so what he shows me," Turbin said of Lynch. "At the end of the day, he's a great demonstration of how to get it done on the field."
Turbin, in addition to Lynch, has even been tasked with helping Coleman's eventual replacement, Will Tukuafu of Salt Lake City, catch up to speed with the Seahawks offense. Turbin called Tukuafu, now the team's lead blocker, a smart player and a huge addition to the Seattle offense.
"They're the best, man. They're awesome," Tukuafu said. "They help me out a lot."
Bevell is impressed with Turbin's pliant nature, one that helps the Seahawks be able to attack their opponents in a variety of ways.
"That speaks volumes for him, that he’ll do whatever we ask him to do but that he’s also a true professional," the coach said. "He studies his craft, tries to get better each day."
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