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Position Analysis: Running Backs

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This is the sixth in a series of looks at the 2010 UC football roster through the eyes of its position coaches. It continues with a glimpse at the running backs with running backs coach Jahmile Addae.  

 

Addae was named running backs coach in May after serving the previous five months as director of player development at UC.

 

Starter - Isaiah Pead, Jr.

 

Backup - John Goebel, Sr.

 

Change of pace - Darrin Williams, RS Soph.

 

Third-string competition - George Winn, Jr., Quentin Hines, RS Fresh.

 

Freshman - Isaiah Nearor, Walk-on

 

Overview: The depth at this position was solidified in the spring when Darrin Williams provided a spark in the place of injured starter Isaiah Pead. But as far as upside goes, Isaiah Pead is enough to make this one of the top two or three position groups on the team. Pead has the speed and 6.7 yards per carry average to change the game as a home-run hitter.   

 

Biggest Question: Everyone knows Isaiah Pead has the speed and vision to be a quality running back, but can he take the next step to being one of the elite runners in the country?

 

Addae: "Isaiah just has to do the small things correctly. The small things on the line, the small things on pass protection, the intricacies of the game. He is physically talented, naturally. But honing your skills in and getting the true detail is where Isaiah and I have been working this camp in order to improve."

 

ISAIAH PEAD

 

Tangibles: 5-10, 193 pounds, Jr.

 

Last year: Started three games, gained 807 yards on 121 attempts for a 6.7 yards per carry average. He rushed for nine touchdowns to lead the team and also caught two more.

 

Addae's take: "I think Isaiah Pead is improving right now more where people can't see which is off the field. Not that he has ever been a hindrance or anything but he is now stepping in to be a leader of this running back corps. He is doing a good job of it. He is pushing the guys as well as pushing himself. For him, work ethic is something that has reached another level."

 

Addae on Pead in pass protection: "Whether or not he spends a bunch of time back there doing it or just a bit, he needs to do it well. It doesn't matter whether we are throwing 75 times a game or running 75 times a game, when he gets his opportunity to get in pass pro he needs to be sound in his technique, his reads, what he has to do. That is something he has been working on and getting better at every day."

 

PDJ Projection: Pead owns all the tools to join the elite in the Big East - and that would be saying something in the company of Dion Lewis, Noel Devine and Jordan Todman. He led UC with 121 attempts last year, but only started three games. Last season at Central Michigan, QB Dan LeFevour rushed 183 times in Butch Jones' offense and the combination of RBs Bryan Schroeder and Carl Volny chopped up 182 carries. It would be hard to imagine Pead not earning 75 percent of the running back carries if healthy. Under those numbers, he would finish with around 136 carries for 921 yards. That would be an extremely conservative estimate of what he can do. I would predict he becomes the 13th UC player to surpass 1,000 yards.

 

JOHN GOEBEL

 

Tangibles: 6-1, 213 pounds, RS Sr.

 

Last year: Played in nine games without a start and gained 41 yards. In 2008, had a career high seven rushing TDs and compiled 286 receiving yards.

 

Addae's take: "I envision him being a leader and encouraging the young guys to come along as well. He is a helluva ballplayer in his own right. He has the special ability to bring others along with him. He is going to be out on the field making some plays for us. No. 22 had some early success and he is ready to get back and get it done."

 

PDJ Projection: John Goebel becomes the biggest back among the group, which is odd considering he was probably the smallest back when he first started as a Mark Dantonio recruit. Goebel is the most polished pass blocker and will be able to fill in there when needed and has shown a capability to catch the ball out of the backfield. He's likely to see some time in that role as the season progresses.

 

DARRIN WILLIAMS

 

Tangibles: 5-7, 180 pounds, RS Soph.

 

Last year: No starts, 11 carries for 32 yards

 

Addae's take: "He brings a little sparkplug. He has a big heart. He goes 100 mph when given the opportunity. He needs to continue to be a high-motor guy. He needs to continue to grow in both the run game and the pass game. He needs to mature in all aspects of the running game as well. But as people saw in the spring, he is a pretty exciting guy."

 

PDJ Projection: Williams caught everyone's eye in the spring game and earned himself an opportunity to contribute this year. It would be hard to imagine him not earning some type of role in this offense. More than likely, he will enter as the third down, change-of-pace back. But, if something were to happen to Isaiah Pead, we learned in the spring that Williams could certainly handle the responsibility.

 

GEORGE WINN

 

Tangibles: 5-11, 202 pounds, Jr.

 

Last year: One game, 5 carries for 12 yards

 

QUENTIN HINES

 

Tangibles: 5-11, 185 pounds, RS Fresh.

 

Last year: Three games, 2 carries, 5 yards

 

Addae's take: "It's ground zero for the rest of these guys. It's open competition."

 

PDJ Projection: George Winn has looked good in the early moments of fall practice, but these guys are being developed to make contributions by the end of the season or into next.

 

ISAIAH NEAROR

 

Tangibles: 5-8, 190 pounds, Freshman walk-on

 

Last year: Starred at Wyoming High School

 

Addae's take: "The guys as a whole have gotten behind him and done a great job with him."

 

PDJ Projection: Being a freshman walk-on in a BCS program isn't for the faint of heart.

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