Injuries provide Powell opportunity

Running back Bilal Powell saw his first action of the season on special teams Saturday night against Kentucky. This Saturday against Syracuse, the 6-foot, 200-pound true freshman could get the first carries of his young and promising career.

Running back Bilal Powell saw his first action of the season on special teams Saturday night against Kentucky. This Saturday against Syracuse, the 6-foot, 200-pound true freshman could get the first carries of his young and promising career.

Had it not been for injuries to both Brock Bolen and Sergio Spencer, both sustained in the season's second week against Middle Tennessee, the talented Powell likely would still be wearing a redshirt. But with Bolen and Spencer unavailable to play last week at Kentucky, Steve Kragthorpe made the decision to activate Powell and get him ready to play this season.

"He played on kick-off coverage the other night and did a real nice job for us," Kragthorpe said of Powell, who was credited with one tackle against the Wildcats. "He would be the next available for us of the young players because we have already played him."

Though Powell didn't see any action at running back against UK, Kragthorpe said he hoped to use the Florida native as a backup to Anthony Allen in that game.

"Actually, we had planned on playing him a little the other night but when the complexion of the game didn't start out like we wanted it to I didn't feel real comfortable putting into that type of role in that environment," Kragthorpe said. "Had we been up 13-0 maybe he gets in the game."


Powell was too good with the ball
to keep on defense.
Powell could likely see his first carries this Saturday against the Orange. It would seem an ideal situation for Kragthorpe to break Powell into the rotation at running back against Syracuse, who ranks 114th nationally against the run.

"He's got a lot of speed and explosiveness," Kragthorpe said. "I think he's tough and runs behind his pads and he's put together pretty well."

One U of L football insider who has seen all the great Cardinal running backs from Nathan Poole to Eric Shelton to Michael Bush, said this recently about Powell:

"He's the whole package," the source told InsideTheVille.com. "You can't get him down in the open field. People have no idea how good he is. We haven't had as complete a back as this in a long time. He is the real deal and he's going to be a good one."

Powell actually started on defense when preseason camp started in early August, but his true talents quickly became apparent to Kragthorpe and his staff, who promptly moved him to running back shortly after practice got underway.

"We actually tried him on defense because we felt we had a need at defensive back," Kragthorpe said. "But it quickly became apparent when he had the ball in his hands – we played him a little at scout team running back and he was pretty dang good. He's done a good job absorbing what we're doing on offense and he's getting more comfortable every week with the schemes. Hopefully we can get him in there a little bit (against Syracuse)."


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