Making the Most of His Time

Shortening the college football games this year has adversely impacted one group more than the rest – backup players. Snaps for reserves have become scarcer than ever before, and sudden impact from seldom used athletes has turned from a luxury to a necessity. Running back Dimitri Nance has carried the pigskin just 33 times in 2006, yet his brief stints are drawing praise from his coaches.

"I'm just playing my role, do what I can when I'm in there," said true freshman Dimitri Nance. "It's a learning experience playing behind those two guys (Ryan Torain and Keegan Herring), and I have a long ways to go. So I work on getting better every week. I still need to work on my pass blocking."

Getting used to the speed of the game is something he believes he has improved on since first arriving in Tempe. Coming from the football crazed state of Texas where he was voted 5A player of the year in 2005, it's hard to imagine that the former Euless Trinity standout, who helped the Trojans capture the 5A state title, can be shocked and awed by the college level compared to the average true freshman. "Yeah, it's a little bit crazy there," he said of playing high school football in the lone star state. "We had some games with big crowds, so that helps you get used to it here when you're under a big spotlight like that."

Nance is only second high school running back in Texas history (the other being current Chicago Bears Cedric Benson) to eclipse 3,000 yards (3,173 yards to be exact). So far he has proven that his high school accolades have been somewhat of a prelude to his college career. Despite the limited playing time he sees as the third-string running back, he has certainly already caught the eye of ASU head coach Dirk Koetter.

"I think Dimitri could have started for us a lot of years," said Koetter, "and he's playing behind two very good guys. But everyday in practice, he does at least one or two things, that make you go ‘that's a really good football player.' Coming from a program like Euless Trinity and the fact that they ran the ball so much…he told (running backs) Coach Wrenn that our zone and stretch plays, which are our biggest plays, he ran those five million times."

"Some kids it just comes natural to and he has done it so many times," continued Koetter, "because he's so used to having the ball in his hands. The game against Stanford when he got in…he always looks slow to start. But the more you give it to him the better he looks."

Even with a crowded than ever running back unit, it would be hard to hold back Nance from seeing the field. He may be third in the depth chart, but certainly first in untapped potential. The present is encouraging, but the future for Nance is nothing short of exciting.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories