While Kaleb Blanchard uses any durability concerns directed toward him as motivation, he has also received advice on the issue from a fellow running back who has undergone similar criticism.
The Arkansas commit suffered a shoulder issue that limited his play last season and Arkansas running back Knile Davis is accustomed to dealing with injuries as well.
Davis suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss the 2011 season and before that, he had sustained two collarbone injuries and broken his other ankle twice as well.
The Razorbacks tailback, who started the 2012 season with a 18-carry, 70-yard performance against Jacksonville State on Saturday, has let the Denham Springs (La.) running back know how he thinks the criticism should be handled.
"Knile gave me some good advice," Blanchard said. "He told me to stick to it out and keep working hard and to not let other people get to me. He said the only thing I need to do is to believe in myself and he said he had the same kind of issues after his ankle injury and he said that anytime I needed help, I could come to him and he would give me advice. That's a factor I really like about him."
As Knile bounced back from injury during the Razorbacks' season opener, so has Blanchard. In a scrimmage on Aug. 17, the senior rushed for 140 yards on just five carries. Then, even though he only rushed for 58 yards on 10 carries in the season opener, he stepped up big in a 49-18 victory over Broadmoor on Sunday by rushing for 213 yards and scoring three touchdowns before sitting out the entire second half.
"It felt great," Blanchard said. "It felt just like old times, running past defenders. My speed has picked back up and it felt good carrying the ball and scoring again.
"I have so much more motivation and I feel like this year will be so much more fun than the past. I have that feeling that it's ‘me against the world' like Arkansas does and I am using that mentality now and still trying to have fun."
While Blanchard said that he is focused solely on winning a state championship at Denham Springs right now, he also said he has at least weekly contact with Arkansas coaches, specifically running backs coach Tim Horton and defensive ends/special teams coach Steve Caldwell, and is firm on his commitment with the Razorbacks. He also said he thinks he has a lot to offer to the team in the coming years.
"I think my leadership and my willingness to learn and get better and being a football player that goes to school and then watches film to make sure I get better and better and try to make the players around me will help me at the next level," Blanchard said. "That and my God-given talents, like my speed and vision, will help me adapt."
Blanchard receives advice from Davis
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016
The Ultimate Midlands TeamThere is a lot of talent in the Midlands region, with a vast majority of the highest rated recruits playing high school football in the Lone Star State. Which prospects made the…
These rival helmet color swaps are revoltingSwapping rival teams' helmet colors? It shouldn't have been done, but someone did it anyway.
Post-July 2017 Top 100 Player RankingsWith the July evaluation periods, Nike Skills Academy, adidas Nations and Under Armour's Elite 24 over, Scout's basketball recruiting team has updated the 2017 top 100. DeAndre…