Pre-Camp Coach's Check-Up 1: Tim Hinton

In our first pre-camp check-up, we talk with University of Cincinnati running backs coach Tim Hinton. The running back position is one that is open to development and improvement in 2008-2009, and coach Hinton will be the one seeing to it. Until then there's still plenty of work to be done.

"We could live here right now if we had to," said the coach, entering his fifth season at Cincinnati. Enjoying the action at UC's recent 7-on-7 high school tournament, Hinton knew there would be plenty of work awaiting when he and the other coaches made it back inside to their offices, even before the start of the team's practices.

"What we'll do when we get back into the office is we'll start setting up our installs and what plays we're going to put in when, and versus what defenses, and all those good things," said Hinton. "We'll start making sure all the little tidy up things are done for the players, and make sure all the incoming freshman have all their academic information in. It's not a boring time of year I'm going to guarantee you."

Coach Hinton won't be able to catch much of a break once pre-season camp starts later this week. He will be busy developing UC's young batch of running backs, with a focus on pass protection, he told us.

"I think the biggest thing for our running back position is to continue to develop the pass protection issues of our offense. Most of the time you're not going to recruit a running back that doesn't know how to run a ball, that's normally not the issue. The guys that we have on campus, I think we can run the ball very effectively with them, and now it's a matter of making sure that we put in the pass protection issues and solve those and be able to understand the communication style of our offense," said Hinton. "If we do those and keep a good work ethic we've got a chance to be successful, and that's really what camp's all about, to work towards that perfection as you get to the year."

Top returning running back Jacob Ramsey rushed for 362 yards on 96 carries (3.8 avg.) and three touchdowns last season. He and red shirt sophomore John Goebel are expected to be the top two candidates for the starting position after both showed impressive signs of what could be to come during the spring.

"No projection now," said Hinton of the running back race. "The battle's on. We'll know Eastern Kentucky time. Until that time, there may be a clear, defined winner, but even who ends up being a clear, defined winner, I don't see it as being a 60-play-a-game guy. I think one of the advantages of that position is keeping guys fresh a little bit, and being able to put different guys in there. And they both have certain strengths and weaknesses, and we hope we can exploit their strengths as much as we can and eliminate their weaknesses by X and O-wise."

In what was a high-flying, mostly passing oriented offense last season, coach Hinton is confident in the team's running game and knows that he and coach Kelly will be able to give their team every opportunity to win, and isn't afraid of strictly playing off the other team's defense.

"Coach Kelly is a very smart football coach and he's going to do a lot of things very, very correctly, and the bottom line is you're going to take what the defense is going to give you. If they're going to put five men in the box you're probably going to run the ball a little more. If they put six or seven in the box against certain formations you're going to throw it more," says Hinton. "The bottom line is take what the defense will give you, and be effective with it, and depending on what that game plan is it's going to determine what we're going to be that day I'm sure. If you don't protect the box with more than five we're probably going to run the ball, because we've got a blocker for every man in the box. That's kind of the ideas for football, and obviously we're going to go attack the defenses the best way we know how."

With their ground game developing, the Bearcats should be ready for a multi-dimensional offensive attack this coming season.

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