VAUGHT: Freshmen running backs impressive

With veteran running backs Rafael Little, Tony Dixon and Alfonso Smith all poised to be big-time threats this season, it might be easy to overlook the three freshmen running backs hoping to get playing time this season. However, UK running backs coach Larry Brinson likes what Derrick Locke, Brandon Jackson and Moncell Allen, who is sidelined now with a broken thumb, have been doing.

"I am very impressed with all three of them. Locke has been very surprising in that normally a track guy has real problems in adjusting to football. But I tell you what, he has come in there and not shown any sense of being afraid. He knows what to do and is doing well in the system. I have been very impressed with him," Brinson said.

"Brandon came in and did a good job from the start. He has missed a few assignments here and there, but he has done a good job.

"Moncell Allen was doing great before he was hurt. I hate he is out. He was doing an awesome job. We had him at both fullback and tailback. He was playing that well. I just hate to see him hurt right now."

But Allen definitely remains in a position to play this year despite his setback.

"The guy had shown he could block and run the ball," Brinson said. "He is not afraid of anything. He runs with a lot of authority, and that was very impressive. We will see how he comes off this injury and if he can play with acast or whatever we are going to do. Hopefully he can get back because he was impressive."

Brinson said in his 24 years of coaching, he has seen a team go from four deep at running back to having only one healthy player quickly.

"They are all prepared to play. Everyone of them. Right now going into the game I think any one of these running backs could come in and play a good game, even the freshmen," Brinson said.

"They have done that well. Right now, they (the freshmen) are playing with the whole playbook in their heads. It is hard to play with 50 plays in your head. When you get to a game plan and narrow it down to 10 or 15 plays, it will be a lot easier for them. But these guys have done a good job already and there's no reason to think they won't keep doing a good job."

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