May 2, 2013

Post Spring Analysis: RBs

The Houston Cougars recently wrapped up their spring workouts and one position that was sort of anti-climatic this spring, but may have firmed itself up the most, is the running back position. Of course when you have one of the top running backs in your conference returning, that often happens.

The biggest change that came out of the 15 practices the Cougars were allowed is what will likely be a change in approach next season in dealing with senior-to-be Charles Sims workload in an effort to keep him healthy throughout the season. A year ago the Cougars were pleased with what redshirt sophomore Kenneth Farrow had shown them in his first time at running back and were excited about true freshman Ryan Jackson who was set to report las summer. This year both have solidified themselves as viable options to be used in relief of Sims.

"The big thing that is different for us is we are more confident in what we have, espececially behind Charles (Sims), " said second year running backs coach Travis Bush. "We also are not trying to force-feed true freshmen over the summer like we were last year with Ryan (Jackson) and others to see if they would be able to come in and help us immediately.

The big change at the running back position this spring was the addition of the fullback position, which should help the offense from bogging down in certain situations. For the staff they feel like they found their man in {db]Luke Stice[/db] with a solid back-up in Xavier Brown.

I think Luke Stice was probably our biggest surprise at the fullback position this spring," "He will be able to come in and help us in certain situations where we struggled a little last year inside the five yard line and in short yardage. He has already begun to add some weight since spring has ended and with him having the summer to work at fullback and continue to add some weight he should be come in more prepared for camp."

What We Do Know:

The one certain not to be lost in all of the added names at the running back position is that Sims will still be the go to guy in the backfield. He is in the argument for best running back in the AAC next season and possibly beyond that depending on his ability to stay healthy during the season. His combination of explosiveness and size has pro potential but his durability could use a boost this season in order to help stock. The fact that the staff is more knowledgeable now, and more secure in what they have, should actually lead to a little less work load for Sims and more opportunities for Sims to take less wear and tear.

Other Players In The Mix:

After the clear headliner in Sims the Cougars feel they have a solid 2A and 2B in both Farrow in Jackson. Either back could be the next on the field behind Sims depending on the situation they are being used in. Jackson has homerun speed and can be a threat anywhere on the field while Farrow is a bit of a bigger back who can successfully pound the ball. Behind that trio which will likely take the lion's share of the handoffs is senior Kent Brooksp who switched over to running back this spring from his safety position which he has played his entire career. Also getting a lot of carries this spring were Randall Holimon and Justin Hicks who will play a role for the Cougars while looking to contribute on special teams as well.

Coming In:

The Cougars signed two running backs in February that will be on campus starting this summer in Giddings (TX) all-purpose back Joseph Glen and Shreveport (LA) Evangel speedster Javin Webb. To be honest neither will likely be needed in 2013, barring injury of course, so don't be surprised if one or both are redhirted.

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