CN Interview - Alford on the Young RB's

One of the biggest concerns by fans heading into the 2006 Cyclone football season was the running game. With Toledo on the horizon, all of the sudden that concern just might be turning into a bright spot on this experienced offense. After practice last week, CN had the chance to talk with the man who works with the backs everyday, Tony Alford.Find out what Alford had to says right here only at CN.

CW: You guys moved Josh Johnson up to number two on the depth chart. Talk about that a little bit.


TA: I think it speaks volumes for him and also the other freshmen here in Alexander Robinson and Mitchell Moore. If we didn't feel secure with them as players, we probably wouldn't have made that move. It's also a good move for Jason Harris. It wasn't like we did this so he couldn't play. We think this is a good move for him and his career as a football player and it's most certainly good for this football team.


CW: How did Harris react to the news?


TA: Jason was fine. Jason is a great kid. He is a team guy. If you remember, we were going to red-shirt him and we pulled him out about the fifth game and said you're going to be playing. He never batted an eye. When we made this move, he never batted an eye either. He's a team guy. He wants to do whatever is best for the football team. I know that his first love was playing running back, but again, it's a team game and some things have to be done for the better of the team.


CW: The three freshmen that you talked about, talk about their games a little bit and how they compliment each other.


TA: All of them are extremely different. Josh has a very low center to gravity; he's a looser guy who has great vision. He's always pushing the ball forward. He's pushing the ball north and south all of the time. I think Mitchell Moore is more of a power guys as far as finishing tackles, running into people and trying to get some more yards after contact. He's probably a little faster; I've never seen them all in a foot race. Alexander Robinson on the other hand, he's kind of a scatback guy. He really gets in and out of holes quickly. He's very aggressive even though he's 185 pounds. He's the smallest of all of them by far. He's a very quick and elusive guy. They all complement each other very well. None of them are a finished product. We've got a long ways to go in two weeks to get ready to play but I love having them all. They are great kids and they are fun to coach.


CW: Any red-shirt plans yet?


TA: It's still early for that. We have two weeks until a ball game so we have some things that we still have to look at an iron out. Right now Josh is our number two, but things happen and a lot of things could take place in the next two weeks. We'll see how things go.


CW: What is it about Josh that makes you think he could be special?


TA: He's an elusive guy. It wasn't like he came to the scrimmage and that was the first time that he did that. It was an everyday affair. In practice he was making plays. It's exciting to watch. Every time he touches the ball you ask what will happen next. It's one of those type of deals. He's got to bring the rest of his game around too and that's why we practice. He'll be the first one to tell you that he's got to improve his game. The older guys like Stevie Hicks will help him mentally and hopefully bring him up a little bit quicker but he did some good things. He's hard to handle and hard to tackle. He has really good balance. He really does a good job of pushing off the tackle. Not many guys can get a clean shot on him.

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