It's Show Time!

BYU has a deep stable of running backs heading into the 2006 season. Curtis Brown leads the group as a first team All-Mountain West Conference performer. Another running back who is ready to shine after a redshirt year is the fleet footed Ray Hudson.

All eyes will be on BYU workhorse Curtis Brown next season as he closes in on a few BYU rushing record, but Brown is not the only Cougar running back worth following. There will be several young backs ready to take the torch from Brown.

One running back has intrigued BYU fans since his true freshman performance when fans caught a glimpse of what could be in store for the future. Ray Hudson was former Cougar head coach Gary Crowton's secret prospect from Wharton, Texas. He saw very limited time in just four games, but never had a carry for a loss.

"Well, I redshirted last year," Hudson said. "This year I'm happy to be out of my redshirt and I'm hoping it's show time for me. This year in comparison to last year, I most definitely got stronger. I got a little quicker and I've gotten a little faster. I worked on my speed more and I do feel more like a complete back."

With Curtis Brown expecting to carry most of the running back duties, Hudson feels it is his time to shine now he is a year stronger, wiser and more polished. His goals are lofty despite the competition.

"My expectations this year is to get a least a thousand yards," Hudson said. "I just have to do what I do for the team. With me, CB [Curtis Brown] and Wayne Latu we bring a lot of different style to the game. I'm more of a speed, finesse runner where I can go outside or run between the tackles. CB is a finesse runner too but he brings more power. His speed is pretty good but Wayne—he's really fast."

While redshirting, Hudson worked hard on the things he felt were his biggest weaknesses. With a new offense being installed that required the running backs to not only run the ball, but to catch it out of the backfield and help with blocking, Hudson realized he had much more to learn in order to be a major contributor for this up and coming year.

"To prepare myself more last year I worked on catching the ball," said Hudson. "I worked a lot on my pass pro with all the other running backs, just learning more on catching passes out of the backfield and just becoming a master of my position.

"Last year I had a little trouble working on my pass pro [catching out of the backfield], and you have to learn this offense because it's very sophisticated. Now I'm getting it—I've learned it really well. I just feel more like the complete back."

Excited that he will now have the chance to compete for playing time and show his speed, Hudson was all smiles following the first day of spring practice. He is confident in his abilities and more comfortable with the new offense. Most importantly, he has enjoyed his experience at BYU.

"I like all the fans, the coaches and being here at BYU," said Hudson with a grin. "We came together as a team this off-season. Coach Mendenhall along with the old coaching staff really brought us all together, and I'm just happy to be here and do what I have to do."

Hudson also has an encouraging prediction for BYU fans about this year.

"I'm really excited for this year," he said. "I'm no longer redshirting and, oh yeah, we're going to be conference champions this year as well."

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