Overall, Quinton White had the best spring of the running backs, but I think the coaching staff wanted to see what they had in White, were pretty sure what they had in DeAndre Washington, were very sure in Kenny Williams and knew that they needed to get Jakeem Grant on the field at some spot, just not at running back.
Just like the quarterbacks, I wanted to take a look at the overall spring numbers.
Quinton White: 36 carries, 189 yards, 5.5 YPC
Kenny Williams: 28 carries, 116 yards, 4.14 YPC
DeAndre Washington: 4 carries, 41 yards, 10.25 YPC
Rodney Hall: 8 carries, 46 yards, 5.75 yards
There are some small sample sizes here, but I think it is telling that Washington is essentially all but ready to go, but only played in one scrimmage, I think the Midland scrimmage. And he obviously impressed in that game. I think that the coaching staff wanted to see where he was at from a physical standpoint and what they thought he could do. Again, it’s probably not fair to judge a spring on four carries, but it’s all we have. It was a glimpse of what the coaching staff hopes to see more of in the spring.
With White, he was the workhorse this spring. He consistently received carries each scrimmage and he did produce. This is a complete guess on my part, but I think they see White as Kenny Williams, Part II. A big back that can handle the punishment of a Big 12 season and can be coupled with a smaller more traditional Air Raid running back. I think this coaching staff likes having two types of backs available on this team. I’d also add that White caught 9 passes for 72 yards for 8 YPC. That’s a good back for this offense. And with White, coming off of a broken foot, I’m guessing that coaching staff wanted to see where he was at and from what I could tell, he looked great.
Williams looked great as well. Williams also had 8 catches for 52 yards and 5.5 YPC. Love that spin move that he puts on so many defenders. With Williams, there really wasn’t a reason to run him completely. They had plenty of tape on him and knew what he could do.
The wildcard was Hall. I knew that the coaching staff got him to walk-on, probably as a preferred walk-on, out of Tyler Junior College. Hall was mainly a blocking back that simply put other defenders on their rears and caught a ton of passes out of the backfield. Depending on the situation, I do think that Hall gives this set of running backs some versatility as to what they can do, especially if they need a blocking back that knows what they’re doing.
Trying to be real picky here and I’d say that this group has to probably be better than previous running backs at picking up the blitz rather than heading into the flat. Real proficient. I’m very much concerned about the offensive line, so the running back collective ability to pick up blocks will be significant in my estimation.
I really think that all of the running backs are really fine runners and I’m thinking that White will probably see very little time this year. And that’s because he’s got some really talented runners in front of him. He’ll have to be a little bit patient, but that’s not the worst thing ever. He’ll have his chance.
I’d also add the thought that the team will have to focus on holding onto the ball. I can’t see Kingsbury as a guy that will let a running back put the ball on the turf without making a move rather quickly. I think that White fumbled in the spring game.
The purpose of this chart is to demonstrate the depth and eligibility remaining for returnign players. Any year marked black is a year that the player has available. A true freshman has five years of eligibility to include a possible redshirt year.
|Running Back Eligibility Remaining|
KEY TO 2013
I’m going to love seeing how these fairly diverse running backs are utilized. And as you note in the sidebar of this article, I was and still am very much interested in the thought that Texas A&M had a terrific rushing offense. They did, but as you can tell, a large part of TAMU's success was on the feel of Johnny Manziel. I was honestly quite a bit surprised that the Texas Tech running backs essentially out-rushed the TAMU running backs. I was really not expecting that result and if anything, very much demonstrates how much Kingsbury trusted Manziel to run the ball.
Maybe the biggest difference between the two teams and something that I hope changes is that Texas Tech was not proficient in punching the ball into the endzone. This is something that has to improve. And of course this absolutely plays into the need for the offensive line to improve, but the running backs have to do their part as well.