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Weekly Position Discussion: Week 5, Running Backs

BWahlberg

Well-known member
DONOR
Lets talk running backs. Look at the system the coaches are implementing, the size/strength of our O-line, Jordy Johnson as a good distributor, and the lack of overall WR experience. All of these signs point to our stable of running backs possibly receiving the heaviest amount of workload and they will probably be the make or break to a successful offense.

RBs: Jordan Canada, Travon Van, Brett Kirschner, Joey Counts, Marlon Miles, Treshawn Favors, John Nguyen

Projected Depth
Starters: Jordan Canada (Junior) and TraVon Van (Junior)
Backup: Joey Counts (Sophmore) and Brett Kirschner (Junior)
Depth: Marlon Miles (Senior) and Treshawn Favors (Freshman)
Red-Shirt: John Nguyen (Freshman)

Strengths/Weaknesses

Jordan Canada - Jordan is entering his junior year with the team and there's a lot of expectations on him as a prior role player to step up and take an increased workload. Jordan in spring ball looked and ran more like a #1 back than I've seen in his past two years. His pass catching has improved and he is still a very shifty runner with a good burst of speed. The same concerns carry over as we've seen before, ability to hold his top speed and staying healthy. Jordan is also rumored to be an option in the PR/KR spot and in years past fielding punts/kicks was an issue.

TraVon Van - I liked what I saw from TraVon a lot this spring and the chatter I heard was a lot of people did as well. Coach Green worked with him pretty well, he went from (what I thought) was too much dancing around and indecisive running in the first scrimmage to being a pretty explosive and still shifty runner come the later scrimmages (think he missed the last one though). TraVon looks huge, but mostly b/c we're used to seeing 5-8 and 5-9 running backs. He's really shifty and can accelerate really quickly on cuts. I didn't see him field many passes, so unsure there. The scrimmage improvement suggests he's doing it but I hope he just continues to make good reads and attack open running lanes quickly.

Joey Counts - Tabbed as both a running back and fullback I believe Joey is a guy that will really make his presence felt this season. He's one of our two more powerful running backs but has a deceptive amount of quickness to him. He's already been labeled as "Mini-Moore" due to being a big running back, but I believe he's actually more elusive and quicker than Dan - but not as powerful as Dan. I haven't seen Joey block much, that is a question mark, especially when he's playing fullback - he'll be paving lanes and protecting the QB.

Brett Kirschner - Brett was going to move to safety but that didn't last long, his best fit really is at running back. Brett is a strong guy that isn't afraid to lay punishing hits on would-be tacklers and he's good at catching passes as well. While mired down in a bit of a depth issue I think Brett will probably split a lighter load of carries with Jordan and TraVon. Kirsch doesn't have the speed that those two but has more power. I could see the amount of carries from the RB position go 40% Canada, 35% Van, 25% Kirsch - kind of like the mix that Pflu used in 2011 with Nguyen/Moore (assuming all stay healthy).

Marlon Miles - I'd posted this after spring camp but I believe Marlon has a great opportunity as a pass-catching scat-back on this team. While I'm not sure how much he'll actually be used we saw in two scrimmages he made a ton of plays catching short passes or screen passes. Marlon is a smaller/lighter guy so getting a lot of handoffs and going between the tackles really isn't a viable option.

Treshawn Favors - I listed him as depth option, personally I HOPE he red-shirts for the single jealous point that I want him to get more looks/opportunities for a longer period. This year (and next year) RB is a little top-heavy with 1 senior and 3 juniors. If he red-shirts he'd come back in 2014 with Van/Canada/Kirsch as seniors and then in 2015 and on be in the running as a lead back with Counts and whoever else may come along. Favors in his highlight reel looks like a great 1-cut runner. Of course the speed and physical nature of FCS compared to high school will be his biggest challenge. If there are injuries among the ranks and Favors holds his own in spring ball I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some carriers.

John Nguyen - Haven't even seen much film on him, listed as a fullback and a bit bigger/powerful than his brothers, we'll just have to see how John adjusts and adapts. If he's got the shifty moves his brother had he could make an interesting prospect in this system which relies on a lot of running backs. It's probably not fair to compare him to his brother b/c he is his own player but when Pete showed up to the Griz he made an immediate splash in his first fall camp.
 
We are spoiled at RB, I believe Jordan and TraVon would be starting at almost every Big Sky school except NAU, and they would be in heavy rotation there. Joey and Brett could probably start or be a major contributor at 2/3s of the Big Sky.

I hope we are able to redshirt all the freshman, there is a log jam at RB and will be next year as well.

John Nguyen has a ton of highlight tape, check him out:

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/82386/john-nguyen" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

And let's not forget Ari Morales:

http://www.maxpreps.com/local/team/videos.aspx?gendersport=boys,football&schoolid=54de1e46-ce20-494a-b24f-437ba874db78&videoid=238907e2-572e-c624-ef1a-fdd63c5f95fc" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
 
Hopefully Van can have a great year the only drawback is hearing his problems with injuries but I can't wait to watch him this year!
 
-MiningCityGriz- said:
Hopefully Van can have a great year the only drawback is hearing his problems with injuries but I can't wait to watch him this year!
Wouldn't be surprised if the injury bug goes away the more Travon runs downhill instead of juking. Just a hunch.
 
griz4life said:
-MiningCityGriz- said:
Hopefully Van can have a great year the only drawback is hearing his problems with injuries but I can't wait to watch him this year!
Wouldn't be surprised if the injury bug goes away the more Travon runs downhill instead of juking. Just a hunch.

I think all he was dealing with in spring camp was a sore hamstring or something, wasn't it? Assuming he's back in town doing summer conditioning and working in the player-lead drills I'd expect those kind of smaller/nagging injuries to go away. And yeah - continuing to working on running downhill will only make him better.
 
On paper this may be the most depth of any skill position. There was an obvious need for a change of pace back to go with Canada. The football gods have been wonderful to the Griz this off season. The deliver of two drop down RBs both Wilson & Van give the Griz more than you could have ever hoped for or imagined coming off of last year.

Joey Counts (Sophmore), Brett Kirschner (Junior) and Treshawn Favors (Freshman) provide a talented youthful & second tier of ball carriers that will allow K'fense & Gragg to role with the hot hand plus have something in their back pocket as difference makers on the ground or short passing game.

Strong group of talented young players. Im liking what I am seeing. Pray for good health for all!
 
griz4life said:
-MiningCityGriz- said:
Hopefully Van can have a great year the only drawback is hearing his problems with injuries but I can't wait to watch him this year!
Wouldn't be surprised if the injury bug goes away the more Travon runs downhill instead of juking. Just a hunch.

I don't know if Travon is quite as much of a downhill runner as some think. Certainly at times, but not when comparing him to Jordy. He seems to jump around much more. In fact, I recall several a$$ chewings by coach d for jumping around too much and not hitting the hole. Just an observation. I think we will be pretty good at rb this year. Not great, but pretty darn good.
 
Spanky said:
Very impressive group of running backs with excellent depth.

And with a substantially, can one say, improved?..running scheme, one would think that should most definitely open up the passing lanes for the one-on-one confrontations between our WRs and their CBs. That's what I'm looking forward to. First Half Griz running roughshod along with some of those quick and easy occasional 'feeling out the defenses' for eight to fifteen yard gains through the air and the subsequent bombs that come forth afterwards to Ellis Henderson, etc. If the opposing defenses honour the Griz running game the Griz passing game should skyrocket this year; hopefully.

But I shouldn't cite Ellis Henderson as the only downfield, albeit potentially so at this point, threat with such a running game being exercised. The pivotal point in the season seems to be whether the Griz can find that complement to Henderson: whether it be a Sean Haynes, Cam Warren, Ryan Burke, Mitch Saylor, Taylor Walcott or maybe even Jamaal Jones. There has to be another Wideout along with Henderson to make the Griz almost indomitable in their offensive onslaught.

Of course, the improved running scheme of the upcoming year can only have to match wits with last years accomplishments insofar as being efficient enough to average 235.7 yds a game for a 4.9 avg. This to the opponents average of 92.5 yds a game. This without the occasional fumbling which I consider a thing of the past...for most considerations observed. If so, most games should be technically over by half-time and the Griz can coast the rest of the game relying on their stout defense in having a field-day.

It ain't goin' to matter who the Griz play until it's the last game of the season held at Frisco, Texas. I already suspect who that might be but I'll hold off till then on any prognostication on an outcome. But that's with an 'all things considered equal' sort of viewpoint wherein I hope I don't end up with a...:foot:
 
in games I have seen it looks to me like kirschner will be the big surprise breakout of the season..he is tough, but more than that he is a gamer.....
 
WyomingGrizFan said:
Spanky said:
Very impressive group of running backs with excellent depth.
And with a substantially, can one say, improved?..running scheme
Improved? How?

I know some people really didn't like the offense the last few years, but I don't get where this crazy optimism is coming from. You guys realize we finished second in rushing behind the only option team in the conference and averaged over 250 yards rushing per game, right?

I'll eat my hat if the new offense can improve on that, and celebrate the fact that we'd be damn near unstoppable if that's the case.
 
uofmman1122 said:
WyomingGrizFan said:
Spanky said:
Very impressive group of running backs with excellent depth.
And with a substantially, can one say, improved?..running scheme
Improved? How?

I know some people really didn't like the offense the last few years, but I don't get where this crazy optimism is coming from. You guys realize we finished second in rushing behind the only option team in the conference and averaged over 250 yards rushing per game, right?

I'll eat my hat if the new offense can improve on that, and celebrate the fact that we'd be damn near unstoppable if that's the case.

We ran in large part because we COULDN'T pass.
 
krammer said:
in games I have seen it looks to me like kirschner will be the big surprise breakout of the season..he is tough, but more than that he is a gamer.....

Kirsch can deal out punishment to would-be tacklers as well, maybe the best of our running backs who can lower his shoulder and plow through defenders. He might be our best goal-line and short yardage back.
 
BWahlberg said:
krammer said:
in games I have seen it looks to me like kirschner will be the big surprise breakout of the season..he is tough, but more than that he is a gamer.....

Kirsch can deal out punishment to would-be tacklers as well, maybe the best of our running backs who can lower his shoulder and plow through defenders. He might be our best goal-line and short yardage back.

I'll take Counts in that scenario, please.
 
WyomingGrizFan said:
Spanky said:
Very impressive group of running backs with excellent depth.

And with a substantially, can one say, improved?..running scheme, one would think that should most definitely open up the passing lanes for the one-on-one confrontations between our WRs and their CBs. That's what I'm looking forward to. First Half Griz running roughshod along with some of those quick and easy occasional 'feeling out the defenses' for eight to fifteen yard gains through the air and the subsequent bombs that come forth afterwards to Ellis Henderson, etc. If the opposing defenses honour the Griz running game the Griz passing game should skyrocket this year; hopefully.

But I shouldn't cite Ellis Henderson as the only downfield, albeit potentially so at this point, threat with such a running game being exercised. The pivotal point in the season seems to be whether the Griz can find that complement to Henderson: whether it be a Sean Haynes, Cam Warren, Ryan Burke, Mitch Saylor, Taylor Walcott or maybe even Jamaal Jones. There has to be another Wideout along with Henderson to make the Griz almost indomitable in their offensive onslaught.

Of course, the improved running scheme of the upcoming year can only have to match wits with last years accomplishments insofar as being efficient enough to average 235.7 yds a game for a 4.9 avg. This to the opponents average of 92.5 yds a game. This without the occasional fumbling which I consider a thing of the past...for most considerations observed. If so, most games should be technically over by half-time and the Griz can coast the rest of the game relying on their stout defense in having a field-day.

It ain't goin' to matter who the Griz play until it's the last game of the season held at Frisco, Texas. I already suspect who that might be but I'll hold off till then on any prognostication on an outcome. But that's with an 'all things considered equal' sort of viewpoint wherein I hope I don't end up with a...:foot:

Was this a serious post? I honestly couldn't tell.
 
AZGrizFan said:
uofmman1122 said:
WyomingGrizFan said:
Spanky said:
Very impressive group of running backs with excellent depth.
And with a substantially, can one say, improved?..running scheme
Improved? How?

I know some people really didn't like the offense the last few years, but I don't get where this crazy optimism is coming from. You guys realize we finished second in rushing behind the only option team in the conference and averaged over 250 yards rushing per game, right?

I'll eat my hat if the new offense can improve on that, and celebrate the fact that we'd be damn near unstoppable if that's the case.

We ran in large part because we COULDN'T pass.
Yeah, and we were still successful even when teams knew it was coming. The only reason it died down later in the year is because we put SSH in, and took away the QB run threat.

I just don't get the people that act like we're "fixing" our offense this year. JJ would have wrecked it last year in that offense. It wasn't broken, IMO, just missing a key piece. And I feel sticking JJ under center is already a step in the wrong direction.
 
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