our running backs have got to start running better and give denard a rest. Right now he is doing everything and i think that if he keeps it up he will get tired and that can lead to soft passes and runs and worst of all he gets injured. I hope that over the next 2 weeks are running backs can get into a nice tempo leading into the big ten season.
The fact that they did some things right doesn't change that they averaged 2.5 yards per carry against a defense that Purdue shredded. That's a problem.
Rodriguez's offense works best when the QB is not the only running threat. If we want to have success in the Big 10, we're going to have to fix some things or one of our injured RBs will need to be the answer.
If you subtract Marve's 10 yards on 10 carries, Purdue ended up with 92 yards on the ground on 22 carries (4.2 yards per carry). The longest carry by anyone other than Marve was 14 yards. While that's certainly better than our running backs did against Purdue (13-30, longest carry 6 yards), that's not terribly impressive either.
I certainly share your concern, though. My hope is that one of the backs emerges during the next three games, and Denard can stop carrying so much.
I think it will come. RichRod himself commented that Denard often has a lead blocker; the rest of the backs don't. Several of their plays yesterday were within a whisper of breaking for good yardage; they're delivering great blocks and helping force the D to play the field. They're all going to learn a lot and grow much more productive the next four weeks. The UFR will be particularly interesting this week. (I was so tense during the game that I don't think I can watch the replay, so the UFR will have to serve.)
but why not have more 2 back formations, so we can have a lead blocker for the RB?
There are a fair number of plays where a tight end is lined up in the backfield. Brian has a picture of this in his UFR for the UConn game. Oh and by the way Michigan is the #7 rushing team and Denard is the #1 QB for rushing yardage after going up against two very solid non-conference opponents. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.
Vincent Smith had two touchdowns vs. UCONN.
Shaw had one...
That doesn't exactly invalidate the fact that they're each averaging three yards a carry despite defenses being focused on Denard. It's burying your head in the sand to deny that we have issues at RB - the coaches certainly realize it, and hopefully will be able to address it.
I'm hoping that Fitzgerald Touissant will be the answer because, come on, what a great name. It just rolls of the tongue.
There were a couple plays yesterday where V. Smith reminded of Mike Hart with his blocking. He was critical to several of Denard's runs. Great to see the RBs blocking so well, but I do agree it would be nice to see Denard's load lightened a bit.
You know there is probably a reason Fitz was the #1 back coming out of camp
Needs to be said again. Let's see what he can do when he's healthy. If he's averaging 3 yards a carry then maybe we can start going negative nancy in regards to the runningback situation.
I'm not a football guru, but isn't it the QB that determines on each play where he is going to go with the ball depending on what he sees the opposing defense giving him? Saw a point mentioned in one of the other articles that ND's D was set to make DR keep the ball and beat them, which he did. Would like to see less QB runs, but glad to know he can do it when necessary and make the opposing team pay.
imo, there were few holes for the RBs during the game. in fact, i can think of several other plays where DRob should have kept the ball instead of handing it off; where he only had the DE to beat for a big gainer on the outside. however, i can see where he needed to take a few plays off to rest.
If the defense plays that differently then Denard should hand it off. The zone read is either a hand off to RB or QB keep depending on what the defensive end does, it has nothing to with our running backs. Also, it is Denard to has to give them the ball, the running backs don't make the read.
it kinda has to do with our running backs, they are only running 2 or 3 yards and then they are tackled. i have a hard time believing that denard is the only guy on our team that can run for more then 3 yards so yes our running backs need to gain more then 3 yards when they get the ball
I take hope from my freshman year, when Wheatley was injured to start the season so Ed "Two Yards and a Cloud of Dust" Davis was our starting back. When it became clear he wasn't getting it done, an unknown kid named Tshimanga Biakabutuka (I'm not bothering to check the spelling) came in and set the world afire.
I'm hoping that Fitzgerald Touissant will follow in Timmy's awesomely named shoes.
On a positive note, this should help recruit Dee Hart. Because Dee Hart should know that he has a chance to get early play time if he enrolls early.
We really need Dee Hart to complete the offense too, because as it stands the runningback is not a big enough factor as a skill player. They don't have anyone with the speed to turn the corner off tackle, otherwise Rich Rod would be running the read play like he did at WVU (Stretch Read at WVU, Zone Read at UofM this year).
I think part of the blame yesterday was Michigan's O-line seemed to be struggling with their blocking against ND's 4 down lineman shifting before every play. There were many plays where Shaw or Smith would get a handoff and had no lane to run in. That said, Shaw really needs to stop dancing and start getting whatever positive yardage he can.
I haven't seen this mentioned at all yet, but their difficulty could be attributed to an entire week preparing for a 3-4 and end up playing against a 4-3.
I like our backs. Smith and Shaw have a step slower speed on their plays because of the nature of the plays. Denard can run in a split second with a lead blocker and no time wasted on a hand off. We'll see more production out of the backs as teams defend us differently.
What guys are saying about the zone read determining the play makes a lot of sense.
I understand that the RB's are only averaging 2.5 YPC but in case no one has noticed, the QB is the focal point of the read-option running attack. And I believe our QB is averaging about 8 YPC so............
So no need to fix things that aren't working because something else is working? Or are you suggesting the the RBs are not expected to average more than 2.5 ypc in Rodriguez's offense? (If so, Steve Slaton must have been in the doghouse a lot for not performing his role).
If the runningbacks are performing well, (1) it makes Denard even more of a threat, (2) it makes the offense as a whole more explosive, and (3) it alleviates the burden on Denard. As great as Denard was, we punted 11 times yesterday and only scored on the final possession in the second half. There is room for improvement on offense, and the RB position seems the most obvious area where we can improve.
Denard is the focal point of the offense...which makes him the focal point for defenses.
He ran the ball 28 times yesterday, 27 of which ended with him getting hit.
Bottom line: We need our running backs to be better than 41 carries for 128 yards (3.12 yards per carry). That's horrible. Horrible.
The man scores a TD on his first collegiate carry. Had to be pretty exciting for him.
Yep, with Big Will Campbell playing fullback and clearing a path for him. I like that jumbo backfield in those short yardage situations.
The line was extremely hit or miss yesterday. I wouldn't lay all or even most of this on the running backs.
I'm excited to see what Fitz and Mike Cox bring to the table. We should definitely see them in the coming weeks. Anything that can take the work load off of Denard is a really good thing.
Shaw looks quick and explosive on receptions but not on running plays as of yet.... I think Shaw is going to get the running game going shortly, and if he does, I will start a thread so you guys can gradulate me.