Anderson, Powell add speed dimension

It's not that Louisville didn't have speed at the running back position before Victor Anderson and Bilal Powell arrived on campus this summer. They did. It's just that the Cardinals talented freshmen duo has been blessed with more "top-end" speed than anyone else at their position.

It's not that Louisville didn't have speed at the running back position before Victor Anderson and Bilal Powell arrived on campus this summer. They did. It's just that the Cardinals talented freshmen duo has been blessed with more "top-end" speed than anyone else at their position.

That's why running back coach Tony Alford is giving each a close look during the preseason. Alford has big, bruising backs in Anthony Allen, who led U of L with 13 touchdowns as a freshman last season, and junior Brock Bolen. George Stripling and Sergio Spencer provide versatility.


Freshman RB Bilal Powell.

But Anderson and Powell? They both bring the ability to go the distance anytime they get their hands on the football.

"I think those two guys bring a little bit more speed than some of the other guys do right now," Alford said. "They are still learning, but they give great effort and they want to learn."

Alford said the big adjustment for both Anderson and the 6-0, 196-pound Powell is learning the nuances of the college game and understanding all of the responsibilities a running back has in Louisville's offensive schemes before being ready to play.

"They might have a little more top end speed, but they still have to learn the game," Alford said. "This is a different deal. When you start picking up blitzes and where you fit in pass protection – you got to get out here and all of sudden you've got to block Malik Jackson coming off the edge that's a different deal than they probably did at their high schools.

"They've got to be able to put another play on top of a good play and be able to put a bad play behind them and not dwell on it," Alford said. "But that's nothing more than maturity. These young guys do bring some things to the table. To say who's going to play right now, it's still way too early, but I love the progress that they are making."

While Alford wouldn't speculate whether Anderson and/or Powell would see the field this season, it's clear he's excited about their long-range potential.

"Those two young guys have really impressed me," Alford said. "Obviously, Vic's a smaller guy, but he sure does play fast. He's lightning quick and he doesn't play like he's a 175 pounds. He doesn't play that way, he plays like a much bigger guy as far as sticking it in there, taking on tacklers and trying to be physical. He has the ability to put his foot in the ground and separate. He's a very smart young man and I'm very pleased with his progress. He's really picked the offense up and understands the concept of what we're trying to do.

"Bilal, on the other hand, is a guy that we got late. So the learning curve has been sort of steep, but he's trying to pick it up and he's spending extra time in the meeting room with me. So he's really giving effort that way. He's a bigger guy. He's close to 200 pounds and he can really run. He's got really good burst and acceleration from zero to ten, he can go. He can be at full tilt in a matter of a couple steps. He's a strong kid, runs hard and runs with great pad level."


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