Spring Review: Running Backs

Spring Review: Running Backs

Spring football is a time to learn a little bit about your team, but that is all you learn, a little bit. It is tough to truly get a gauge on a team when it practices against itself for a month. Although we won't know how good the team will be until they take the field in September, we did learn a few things about the team. We take a look at the running backs.

POST SPRING DEPTH CHART
Tailback
1. Chris Henry, Jr.
2. Xavier Smith, Fr.
3. Terry Longbons, Fr.

Fullback
1. Brandon Lopez, So.
2. Robert Jones, Sr.
3. Eric Schlagel, So

2006 Spring Scrimmage Stats

Player        Rush         YDS            TD          Rec          YDS
Chris Henry 41 123 1 5 70
Xavier Smith 26 62 0 1 4
Terry Longbons 5 65 0 0 0
Brandon Lopez 0 0 0 3 13

WHAT WE KNOW:
*Chris Henry continued to wow people in practice sessions but did not necessarily show the same flash in scrimmage situations.

*Terry Longbons showed that he will be a factor in the battle for carries. Longbons showed great north/south ability.

*Although all three running backs had solid springs, there is room for newcomers Glyndon Bolasky and Derke Robinson to make a play for immediate playing time.

*Brandon Lopez will be a key part of the offense, especially as a pass catcher.

*Arizona has three backs who can all take a hit, but all have different running styles.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW:
*With two fumbles in the three scrimmages, there is no guarantee that Henry's fumble problems are behind him.

*Can Xavier Smith become the consistent running threat that he showed last season when running with the scout team?

*Just who will win the tailback job? Frankly, any one of the running backs has a shot. Henry enters the fall as the leader, but there is no sure thing.

*Will a freshman win the back-up FB job? Earl Mitchell and Brooks Reed could both get a shot.

*Will Reed remain a FB? He has the speed and talent to be a linebacker and that could be his eventual destination.

WHAT WE THINK:
*With Mike Bell and Gilbert Harris moving on, Henry will not be looking over his shoulder and will gain the confidence to be an effective ball carrier.

*At least two other backs will get their share of carries. More than likely it will be Smith and another.

*Don't be shocked if Longbons is not used as a comb-back in the mold of a Gilbert Harris. He has the size to run inside and block and could be a nice weapon if he can be a reliable pass catching target.

*The running game will be better than last year, but still won't be a strength. The Cats will still score points on the arm of Tuitama, but they will run enough to take some pressure off of the young quarterback.

KASEY DUNN'S COMMENTS ON CHRIS HENRY: Until we get about halfway through the season I will hold onto all my comments He does a great job and I think he will be a great, great tailback.

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