Spring Preview - Runnings Backs

Once again the Hurricanes had a solid running game in 2003 averaging 180 yards per game. The ground game was counted on heavily a year ago with the struggles of the passing game. With only four running backs participating in the spring these guys will get a lot of reps.

Returning (5): SO Tyrone Moss (11 games-0 starts); JR Frank Gore (5-5); SR Kyle Cobia (12-5); SR Talib Humphrey (2-0); JR Quadtrine Hill (12-6)

Lost (2): Jarrett Payton…985 yards 7 TD; Jason Geathers…151 yards 1TD

Spring Depth Chart (2003 stats)

Tailback
1. Moss…..511 yards…4.8 avg…5 TD
2. Hill……4 yards…4.0 avg…0 TD

Fullback
1. Cobia……..18 yards…3.6 avg…0 TD
2. Humphrey…17 yards…8.5 avg…0 TD

Out: Gore (ACL)…468 yards…5.3 avg…4 TD

The Hurricanes will be thin at running back in the spring with just four running backs participating in spring drills. Gore is still recovering from his ACL injury he suffered during the West Virginia game and has been working extremely hard in the weight room to be ready in the fall. Its hard to say at this point how well he will be able to recover, but all indications point towards a full recovery. Mentally Gore is doing better this year with the injury than a year ago when he suffered a tear to his ACL.

Moss looks to be the starting tailback for the Hurricanes in 2004. He had a solid season last year rushing for 511 yards and came on strong at the end of the season. Moss did not fumble in his 107 carries last season, an impressive mark for a true freshman. He rushed for over 100 yards in two games, Temple and Pittsburgh, and showed the ability to run in between the tackles.

Hill gets a chance to show what he can do at tailback after spending the first two years as the team's starting fullback. This is a move Hill is extremely excited about after only getting seven carries his first two years. There is a slate of running backs joining the team in the fall, but it is uncertain how they will adjust to the college game. Hill's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be a constant threat for teams and could see time as the team's third down back like Geathers a year ago.

Cobia and Humphrey will be splitting the reps at fullback and both players are coming back from injuries. Cobia hurt his knee in the Orange Bowl, but will be 100% when practices begin. Humphrey received a medical hardship last year with constant Achilles problems. He has been working hard rehabbing and expects to be on the field on the first day of practices.

The biggest story in the group is Hill and if he can perform at a high level at tailback. He was recruited as a tailback and is excited to get the opportunity to earn carries in the fall. The key for Cobia and Humphrey is to stay healthy in the spring. Serious injuries have haunted these two talented fullbacks, but when healthy they will be a solid combination.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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