August 19, 2007

Spotlight on the running game

Over the past five years, the Cal running game has enjoyed success shared by few teams nationally. Numerous players have taken over the lead - like a baton passed between runners - each resulting in remarkable seasons. After nearly two weeks of Fall Practice, BearTerritory focuses in on the current 2007 talents in Berkeley.

Just how good has Cal's running game been over the past half-dozen years?

Starting in the 2005 season, it was former Oakland Athletic League (OAL) standout tailback Marshawn Lynch who took over the Bears power running game. Now the feature back for the Buffalo Bills, Lynch was one of just 10 running backs nationally that averaged 6.0 yards per carry last year (with over 100 carries). As a sophomore in 2005, Lynch was even better, ranking 4th nationally at 6.36 yards per carry.

In 2004, J.J. Arrington, in just his second year at Cal, led the nation with a staggering 6.98 yards per carry. The season before it was Adimchinobe (Joe) Echemandu who averaged over 5.0 yards per carry, and preceding Echemandu was the talented Joe Igber at 4.6 yards per carry.

In front of every talented Cal starting running back has been the Bears solid offensive line. And beside every talented Cal starting running back has been a back-up not only ready to fill in, but to take over when the opportunity came. Such was the case when Echemandu took over for Igber, Arrington took over for Echemandu, and Lynch took over for Arrington.

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