Sports

Does amount equal high quality in UW’s operating backs room?


On Aug. 30, 2021, Jimmy Lake sat at a desk contained in the Husky Stadium tunnel and touted the depth of his operating again room.

“The stable is deep. The stable is deep,” Lake stated with a large smile, 5 days earlier than No. 20 Washington welcomed Montana in its season opener. “We have a bunch of gamers who’ve performed plenty of soccer for us in our running-back room. It’s all the time good to get a recent man again there going at our opponent.

“So you guys see the depth chart there — guys with a bunch of carries, that have made a bunch of plays for us over the years. You’ll see those guys on Saturday.”

Fans actually noticed them wrestle. Come Saturday, the Huskies managed simply 65 dashing yards and a pair of.4 yards per carry in a 13-7 defeat to FCS Montana — maybe the worst loss in program historical past. UW completed a dreadful 4-8 marketing campaign rating eleventh within the Pac-12 in dashing offense (98.42 yards per recreation) and useless final in yards per carry (3.19). Lake and offensive coordinator John Donovan’s jobs had been open by season’s finish.

Even with out departing seniors Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant, the Huskies have seven scholarship athletes of their operating again room this spring.

The steady continues to be (technically) deep … and disappointing?

“I thought we’d have more depth at the running-back position, honestly,” UW offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb stated Monday. “I know they graduated two seniors last year. I just thought that would be a little stronger at this point. With CD (Cameron Davis) and Richard (Newton) out with injuries right now, probably part of it is those are your two most experienced guys.”

Later, when itemizing the Huskies’ potential playmakers, Grubb lauded huge receivers Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk, in addition to tight ends Devin Culp and Jack Westover, earlier than including: “I think there’s a lot of unproven situations in the running-back room. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do in there.”

Speaking of unproven conditions: three Husky operating backs (Richard Newton, Cameron Davis and Emeka Megwa) are anticipated to overlook the spring with varied accidents, whereas Sam Adams II and Caleb Berry weren’t current at Wednesday’s apply as effectively.

Which is why, when Washington’s offense lined up for the primary time within the Kalen DeBoer Era, its beginning operating again was … Camden Sirmon.

Yes, Camden Sirmon. The redshirt freshman walk-on and transformed quarterback.

“He’s a guy that’s really bright, tough, physical, over 200 pounds,” Grubb stated of Sirmon, who’s formally listed at 195. “So he’s a guy who maybe can give it a go during spring and we’ll see how he looks at tailback full time.”

Added McGrew, unprompted, at Tuesday’s professional day: “(Sirmon’s) a nice addition to the room, too. I’m hoping he gets some nice runs in spring ball so y’all can see he’s actually a good running back.”

For higher or worse, it seems Sirmon received’t be missing alternatives. The second-team operating again on Wednesday was sophomore New Mexico switch Aaron Dumas, who led the Lobos with 658 dashing yards and 4.83 yards per carry in 11 video games final fall. Redshirt freshman Jay’Veon Sunday labored into the rotation as effectively.

Come September, Davis and Newton — each of whom Grubb stated can be again for fall camp — will seemingly prepared the ground for Washington.

But what does DeBoer even need out of a Husky operating again?

“I’m good with different body types and different styles,” he stated. “It isn’t like we’ve received to have one (sort of again). Because you’re going to want a again in brief yardage and a again that may do various things, defend and so forth.

“I do like versatility in a operating again. We use the operating again so much within the go recreation. It isn’t like we’re simply handing off inside zone to this man. These guys are going to catch plenty of balls. They’re going to be put in routes. They’re going to be matched up versus linebackers one-on-one. They’re going to be test downs on routes the place the receivers are the first go-to targets. We’re going to be flexing them out. So the blokes that may tackle the hits and do the issues that we now have to have within the run recreation is in fact the place it begins.

“But in the pass game it’s kind of like a quarterback. A quarterback has to start with the ability to throw it, but anything he can do with his legs is an added bonus. That’s the same thing with a running back, except the other way. Of course he has to be able to run, but the things he can do in the pass game is certainly going to benefit him and us as well.”

Take the 2021 Fresno State Bulldogs, for instance. A pair of operating backs, seniors Ronnie Rivers and Jordan Mims, eclipsed 700 dashing yards and 300 receiving yards. Rivers (5-9, 195) rushed for 788 yards, 4.9 yards per carry and 5 touchdowns, whereas including 34 catches, 364 receiving yards and two extra scores. Not to be outdone, Mims (6-0, 205) contributed 710 dashing yards, 5.6 yards per rush and 6 dashing touchdowns, in addition to 25 catches, 324 receiving yards and 4 scores by the air.

They ran, they caught they usually blocked.

Meanwhile, UW operating backs Pleasant, Davis, McGrew and Newton mixed for simply 43 catches and 316 receiving yards, with no single receiving landing. Donovan’s offense not often utilized backs within the passing recreation, whereas Lake philosophically advocated for bulkier backs — joking that “they don’t let heavyweight fighters fight lightweights for a reason: the heavyweight fighter’s going to win.”

But when he’s executed throwing punches, can the heavyweight catch?

Based on our bodies, the steady is — or can be — deep.

It’s unclear whether or not it may be versatile.



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