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Western Kentucky RB Antonio Andrews fighting label as fumbler


MOBILE, Ala. -- Antonio Andrews owns it.

The Western Kentucky running back coughed up six fumbles last season, five of them lost to the defense, and he's well aware the NFL scouting community will have its concerns about that as his evaluation for the 2014 NFL Draft takes shape. But Andrews is using the Reese's Senior Bowl as a way to debunk those concerns.

So far, so good.

"There just comes a point where you've got to really take care of it. At the end of the day, fumbles can cost you money. Nobody wants a running back who fumbles the ball," Andrews said. "I've had to be a lot smarter in trying to fight for extra yardage and stuff."

Athletically, Andrews has the rushing ability (1,730 yards last season), size (225 pounds), and receiving skills (41 catches) that NFL clubs look for. But his technique for ball security has undergone some changes.

"Even though it's uncomfortable when you sprint to keep the ball high and tight, at the end of the day you've got to do it," he said. "I try not to swing it. Just keep it high and tight and keep it more still."

Of his production, there is no question. Andrews ranked No. 7 in the entire NCAA in rushing and was a workhorse in former coach Bobby Petrino's only season at the WKU helm. It's also worthy noting that the dizzying pace at which the Hilltoppers put the ball in his hands might have lent itself to more fumbles, as well. With 267 carries, 41 receptions, 14 punt returns and 15 kickoff returns, Andrews finished his senior year with a whopping 337 touches. Andrews said the fumbling issue came up with one team during his interviews with NFL teams in Mobile, but he doesn't believe it will affect his draft stock.

"One team," he said. "Other than that, they watch film and see how it happens. It's not like it's a problem. Anything can be fixed."

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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