"The coaches were pushing us to go faster," said Adam Hine. "Back when the defense was running more than the offense, we were like, ‘Wow, we're glad we don't have to run that much.'"
Now the offense does exactly what the defense does. The offensive players have their pursuit drills, they have to run from station to station, they have to execute at a fast-paced tempo, and everyone from the starters to the backups have to sprint out onto the field and line up quickly or do it all over again until they get it right.
"Now the defense is looking at us and saying, ‘Wow, they run a lot,'" said Hine. "So, I think our coaches are now pushing us to a place where we didn't think we could be, but now we're getting there. It's making us mentally a lot tougher and physically we're there. We're doing a lot of the same stuff as the defense and it's bringing us a lot closer."
The players still have a long way to go to reach the offensive coaching staff's expectations. However, it is visibly clear that there has been quite a bit of progress made since the first week of spring camp.
"I feel like everyday we're doing something a little bit better, so we're starting to feel more comfortable within the offense," said Hine. "It's kind of like a rollercoaster where we learn something, get pretty good at running it, then something new is added and we have to start over. We've learned quite a bit of the offense and now that we've been running it for a few weeks I feel like everyone is getting faster overall."
The running back that has made the most progress since last season has been Hine. He is currently the third running back in the rotation.
"I definitely have to say that I'm more confident and running really well," said Hine. "I don't have any nagging injuries slowing me down. One of the things that slowed me down was having those mission legs. I don't know if it was just in my head, but I'm feeling a lot better physically."
Based off the limited amount of time that has been given to watch and evaluate the team this spring camp, the following is how the top three running backs running with the first-team offense are doing.
Alisa has the fastest step and is the quickest of all the backs. When he gets the ball, his first 10-yard burst is very quick and decisive. Alisa is also the most experienced of all the backs and is showing more leadership, as he is a senior. He's also the most physical of the three primary running backs.
Williams has grown from 190 pounds to 205 pounds over the offseason, but he's still looking more to run around defenders rather than over them. One of his greatest assets as a runner is his vision and feel for the flow of the defense, and then bursting through the lanes downfield. Williams has a very strong central core coupled with agility and flexibility which allow him to change directions very well.
Hine has a little more top-end speed than Williams. He also has a strong core and very good burst of speed, and is probably the overall fastest of the backs. However, Hine doesn't have quite the same caliber of feel and backside vision as Williams, which is either developed over time or comes naturally, like in the case of Williams. Hine looks more comfortable in the backfield, which means he's thinking less and fitting more naturally into the running back position.
"I feel like from the whole running back corps we bring a lot of talent and effort," said Hine. "I feel like everyone on the offensive side of the ball brings that diversity that we need to be a successful offense."