Evaluating the Foe: BYU Running Backs

In this edition of Evaluating the Foe we'll take a look at the stable of running backs in BYU's backfield. Bringing BYU fans the evaluation report is none other than Mike Linebacker Zac Stout, who lends his insight into this year's ball carriers.

When you start talking about BYU running backs you have to first start with the star player of the group. That, of course, is Jamaal Williams, who will be a major threat to both run and catch the ball out of the backfield this season.

Jamaal Williams

Heading into his junior year, Jamaal Williams is now more filled out physically- he's now in the 205-pound range- while being more polished at his craft. It always seems that during the observation period of practice, Williams is busting through the line of scrimmage and breaks off large runs with his eye on the end zone. Williams is expected to take the next step and become a legitimate star back as a junior.

"Oh Jamaal is a great running back and can do so much to hurt you," said Stout. "He has a really good combination of speed and agility to run past or around you. At the same time he can also put his head down through you. He's really strong and it's amazing how much power he has when he wants to lower his head. Jamaal isn't a one dimensional back. He can run past or through you but he can also catch the ball out of the backfield as well. They like to get him out into space and throw to him so he can hurt you that way too. He's a really well-rounded back and just keeps getting better and better every year."

Paul Lasike

Now a senior and well-adapted to the sport of football, Paul Lasike looks to have a hallmark year. He looks more comfortable in the backfield and plays without hesitation. He is the power to Jamaal Williams' finesse. He's also a very good blocker in the passing game, and that part of his game looks to have improved now that he has a year of Anae's offense under his belt.

"Paul Lasike is another really strong runner, and the way he runs is very downhill," said Stout. "It doesn't take long for him to get up to speed and when he comes downhill he's ready to bull you over. At the same time he's deceptive too. You think he's coming downhill in a power run but then he'll make a move and make you miss, so he can be a deceptive runner at times. He's a really good runner and can do pretty much anything. He'll hit it hard downhill in between the b-gap. He's ready for anything and blocks really well."

Nate Carter

Probably the biggest surprise of spring camp, Nate Carter has really emerged as this year's version of former BYU back David Foote. He doesn't have breakaway speed but he is very quick and shifty and gets lost from amongst the trees. He has very good vision and anticipation.

"Nate Carter has stepped up since I've been here," Stout said. "He's a speed back. I know they like to throw the ball to him from out of the backfield a little bit. He's really quick and is able to get behind the line and hit the little gaps after making an adjustment behind the line. He's that kind of player where if you don't play disciplined he'll hurt you because you can over commit thinking he's going to do this and then he cuts it back and is off to the races. He's a good back and tough to get into position to make a tackle on because he makes really good adjustments to find the holes in the line."

Algernon Brown

Algie Brown first blew up on the scene with a run that wowed fans in the stands during spring camp last year. During the annual blue and white game, Brown burst through the offensive line and scampered his way down field by trucking over linebackers followed by safeties. For a moment, Lavell Edwards Stadium became Pamplona and Brown became the human version of the running of the bulls.

"Algie, man, he's just another well-rounded back. He's got power, speed, agility, and has it all," said Stout. "He's still learning what he has, but once he does I think he's going to be a really good back. He's a lot like Paul Lasike. When he decides to go downhill he gets there quickly, but at the same time he can make you miss because he's really athletic and agile. He's a good running back and will only get better with time."

Adam Hine

Hine hasn't been practicing this spring camp due. Coach Mendenhall said he should be back for fall camp and will only add depth to the roster. However, he'll have a lot of work to make up due to the spring performances of the other backs.

"I haven't seen Adam for a while but he's pretty much the same," said Stout. "He's a faster back that can hurt you when he gets out into the open. We need to get him back."

Overall Conclusion

As a collective group, BYU's running backs will possess a combination of power, speed, and agility that will be more of a threat within the offense. As of now, the run game is the strength of the offense despite the caliber of talent at the wide receiver position.

"As a whole, I would say this group is very physical and they just don't care," said Stout with a chuckle. "They don't care because they'll come up and hit you in the mouth. They're all really physical while having a mix of speed. They're a really versatile group with a lot of different weapons and ways to hurt you. That's kind of how I would describe this group."


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