Torain Has Short Game Covered

Watching the Sun Devils trying to convert short yardage situations in 2005, was as enjoyable as having a root canal in an air condition-less Tempe dentist office in August. Enter Ryan Torain, and 3rd and 1 downs are suddenly converted with more ease than before. The tailback isn't only the best newcomer on offense, but maybe one of the most vital weapons the maroon and gold have.

The 6-0 216 Ryan Torain has caught the eyes of the Arizona State coaches and the fans from the first day of fall camp. He's part of one of the deepest Sun Devil tailback groups in recent memory, but has quickly established himself as a player that will get called on early and often off the bench. In many ways, it's no different than his days in Butler (Kan.) Community College. There, he rushed for 795 yards and 12 touchdowns despite splitting half of the snaps each contest and missing four games with an injury.

With the Sun Devils he's listed as the second string running back behind Keegan Herring. It's a familiar spot that doesn't diminish his effectiveness one iota when he gets his chance to carry the pigskin. "I'm used to it, I can adapt to it, and it's really nice because you can get a couple of series off to rest your legs," said Torain. "It helps you stay energized. At this level every team needs two backs, so it's fine."

His role as being the short yardage ball carrier was something that was communicated to him loud and clear during his recruiting by ASU. "Coaches said they had trouble with the 3rd and 1 last year," he recalled. "They said that I'm the big back they need to get that yard. That's one of he things us tailbacks are working hard on this year and that's the role that I took upon myself – run downhill, get the yard and keep those chains moving."

Following the camp ending scrimmage, the JC transfer was obviously pleased with the offensive showcase but also relished in "playing in this great stadium, with so much talent on the team. It's real cool." His only score in the scrimmage was actually a 25-yard catch out the backfield, showing that his has some wheels to go along with his brawn. "That's another role I like to take upon myself," he explained, "show my versatility and have fun out there. With our passing game we're not gonna see too many eight men in the box defenses, so that gives the tailbacks more room to run or catch passes."

The JC transfer was just a couple days removed from his first Camp Tontozona experience when he talked to us. How did he enjoy this Sun Devil August tradition? "Just being out in the woods without cell phones, gave you a lot of time to be on your own and think by yourself," he replied. "It was cool and it was a good experience. I don't know how hard it was in the past when we were up there 13 days, but it was a relief to come home sooner because a lot of guys weren't used to sleeping in the woods. It was a nice experience."

With the pre-season winding down, the remaining goals of Torain are simple, yet indicative of his attitude and character. "I'm just gonna continue to work hard and try to get a spot on the team," he commented. "Don't be negative, just be positive and congratulate your teammates that work with you on offense and against you on defense. Football is a fun experience and I enjoy playing the game and working hard."

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