In the interest of you, the casual BON'er, wasting more of your precious time at work/in class/away from Xbox and my own interest in making this offseason go by faster, I decided to do a little thinking out loud about the 2010 running back situation. After watching what can only be described as a three-to-four headed monstrosity in the backfield during the last two seasons, I decided to do a little light reading and publish my opinion on our (presently) lackluster running game. At this point I’m kind of upset that science hasn’t progressed to the point that we can simply splice players together into some form of superhuman, or in our case a complete running back. Alas, all we can do is speculate, and hope to Bevo that maybe, just maybe, something will give this season and the all-but-absent running game of yesteryear will disappear into the abyss of forgotten things.I only took the time to think about running backs we’ve actually put on the field for a significant amount of time, so no disrespect to Berryhill, Hills, Padgett, Smith, or Whaley.
I only took the time to think about running backs we’ve actually put on the field for a significant amount of time, so no disrespect to Berryhill, Hills, Padgett, Smith, or Whaley.
Cody Johnson: 5-11/250
It seems that Cody is still having weight problems. At the beginning of the 2009 season, we thought we had found our featured back in No. 31, but to no avail. The few times Cody was used as a starter, presumably to plow his way through the opposing D-line using the “hit-em-and-hope” strategy, the results were astoundingly unproductive. While his weight can be an asset, finding holes in the defense should be a priority instead of trainwrecking defenders Earl Campbell style. If that happens, the rest should fall into place and his ypc would be a little more impressive. I sincerely wish that our O-line could have given him more to work with this past year, but I think that the playcalling was so bland that opposing defenders knew what was coming beforehand.
Vondrell McGee: 5-10/205
Call me a quitter, but I kinda gave up on Vondrell after the ’08 season when I watched him run into the back of his blocks about two or three times a game. Vondrell’s big asset is speed (he runs a 4.4), but his hesitation and vision seem to hold him back from becoming a featured back. If he does find a lane, he can certainly jet. Again, I think that incorporating some new running plays, and more of them, may help curtail this issue. It may all be in my head.
Tre’ Newton: 6-0/200
Tre’ seems to have pretty good vision on the field, and can really turn it on coming around the corner, which makes him dangerous. Even inside, if he finds a big enough gap in the defense and gets a chance to use his burst speed, he’s gone. He’s a little slower than some of the other backs, at a 4.6, but it doesn’t take him long to get there. Personally, I believe that if anyone gets the nod to be our featured back, it should be Tre’. He’s strong enough to fend for himself, but slippery enough that he shouldn’t have to all the time. I’ve seen a lot of great moves out of him, but his biggest drawback seems to be his inexperience.
Fozzy Whittaker: 5-10/195
I’ve been a heavy believer in the Fozz ever since he stepped on the football field. He’s got a great presence on the field, and some great moves to go with it. He spent most of 2008 sidelined (knee), and I think we all expected great things from him in 2009, only to be presented with the same song and dance (running back by committee + pass heavy offense). He does seem to lack burst, but he runs a 4.4, so give him a few steps at the risk of watching 6 points run by you. Fozz has always seen the field well, and it’s played to his advantage given our limited use of true running plays in the last 2 years.
Anyway, enough of the odds and ends. What do you think? Who is your featured back, if any, for 2010 and why?