Bearcat 2007 Preview: Running Backs

This week Bearcat Insider looks at the running back situation for the 2007 season. There is certainly no shortage of contenders.

The running back position looks a bit crowded as the Bearcats head toward their 2007 season opener against SE Missouri St. on Thursday, August 30-th, but Bearcat football fans have grown used to this kind of situation.  Mark Dantonio routinely shuffled three running backs (Butler Benton, Bradley Glatthaar and Greg Moore) in and out of the Bearcat line-up for the last two seasons, but some fans wonder if the position by committee philosophy will continue under Brain Kelly and his staff.


First, let's take a look back at the results of using the "three headed tailback."  In 2004, Richard Hall was the featured back with 210 carries for a 4.8 yard per carry average, but Butler Benton led the now senior trio with 100 carries while Bradley Glatthaar logged 72 attempts and Greg Moore had only 4 touches at the line of scrimmage.  In 2005, Glatthaar became the leader toting the pigskin 139 times with Benton getting 71 carries and Moore getting 62 attempts.  Last season Moore ran to the front of the pack with 162 carries with Benton in second with 118 and Glatthaar dropping to third place with 94 carries.  Each has over 1,000 yards for his career and a 4.0 or better yard per carry average.  (Benton-1,237 yards and 4.3 yard average; Glatthaar-1,220 yards for 4.0 yard average; and Moore-1,013 yards and 4.4 yard average.)  With their experience, all three are serious contenders for the starting spot.


Butler Benton is the most sure handed of the trio and very seldom puts the ball on the ground while Moore has had a problem in that area although he improved significantly last season.  Moore is probably the biggest threat to make a big play while Glatthaar is probably the best short yardage runner. 


The tailback in Kelly's system will be expected to catch the ball more out of the backfield.  Once again, there is very little difference among the three seniors' statistics.  Benton has 18 career catches for 194 yards; Glatthaar has 19 catches for 113 yards and Moore has 16 receptions for 180 yards.  Benton and Moore have more speed than Glatthaar, but after seeing Bradley during a recent weight room workout, the Elder grad is in the best shape of his life.  All three will want to have a big senior season, and this race may be too close to name a leader at this time.


A couple sophomores returned to their natural position of running back during the spring.  John Goebel began his college career as a running back but was switched to safety after summer practice.  After spending a couple weeks in the spring at wide receiver, the new staff returned the 1-st team all-stater from Brother Rice High School to his natural position, and the kid from Michigan played extremely well in the Bearcat Bowl spring game.  Goebel has all the tools to challenge for the starting job this season and further complicates an already crowded spot.


Another legitimate candidate to win the starting job is Jacob Ramsey.  Like Goebel, Jacob began his Cincinnati career with the running backs but was switched to linebacker during the season.  And like his Michigan competitor, the new staff made a wise move by returning Ramsey to the offensive backfield.  Jacob is a physical specimen, and despite his youth and inexperience, he will definitely be in the hunt to win the starting job this summer.


The newcomer to this very competitive battle is Montez Patterson who walks across the street from the Hughes Center to enter the University of Cincinnati.  Patterson was the best player on the field in a June all-star game in Cincinnati that featured many college signees, but cracking into UC's line-up won't be as easy as breaking the line of scrimmage against good high school players.  Montez has a huge upside and possesses great character to go along with wonderful physical skills, but he'll have a lot of veterans to leapfrog if he's to see much playing time at running back in 2007.  

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