Monday, August 13, 2007

Season Preview: The Running Backs

I started several weeks ago by discussing A&M's quarterback situation. With the team in camp, it's time for the next installment in that series. Today, a review of the Aggie's running backs.

Returning Starters, Jorvorskie Lane (Jr.), Mike Goodson (So.) and Chris Alexander (Sr.):
In 2006 this was the deepest, most talented position on A&M's roster. Expect no less in 2007 with underachieving Courtney Lewis being the only loss. The Aggie's return one of the best inside-outside combos in the nation with the gargantuan Lane and the lightning quick Goodson. Fullback Chris Alexander is one of the Big XII's most underrated players.

Lane (740 yards, 4.4 ypc, 19 TD) exhibits tremendous footspeed for a player his size, allowing him to change directions with astonishing quickness. This gives him a shiftiness that makes him nearly impossible to hit squarely or bring down for a loss. Combine all of this and you have one of the best short-yardage backs in college football. Some Jorvorskie highlights:

Mike Goodson (929 yards, 6.7 ypc, 4 TD) emerged midway through last season to give A&M a speedy option to complement Lane. Although he struggled with fumbles early in the season, Goodson cemented his status in the RB rotation with a long TD against Baylor to seal the win. This season he should be even more involved in the offense. Here of some of Goodson's better plays from a season ago:

Chris Alexander (76 yards, 5.4 ypc, 1 rushing TD, 3 receiving TD) is one of the hardest working players in the country -- he just never takes a play off. Robert Cessna had a great writeup about him last week. Here is a YouTube compilation of some of Alexander's greatest blocks:

All three backs should figure in the passing game. Both Lane and Alexander are dangerous as check down receivers in the flats. Goodson looked effective on screen passes in the spring game and should add that dimension to the Aggies this fall.

The Backups:
Texas A&M boasts one of the deepest sets of running backs in the Big 12. Cornell Tarrant (RS-Fr., 6'0", 193 lbs.) possesses a rare blend of power and speed and will likely get every opportunity to impress early in the season against Montana St. and UL-M. Keondra Smith (So., 5'9", 199 lbs.) is a steady runner who looked very effective in the Maroon and White Game. Also in the mix is true freshman Bradley Stephens (5'10", 193 lbs.), one of the gems of A&M's 2007 recruiting class who may or may not redshirt.


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