2010 Position Review: Running Back

Before we look ahead to spring football, we take a look back and review the Tigers running back position from 2010

In 2010, Missouri utilized a tailback-by-committee approach to the position, and it seemed to work quite well.  Collectively, Missouri's TBs rushed the ball 270 times, for 1557 yards (5.77 yards/carry), and 19 TDs.

Each of Missouri's TBs brings somewhat different qualities to the field.  Junior De'Vion Moore 5'9" 195 started 11 of Missouri's 13 games, and rushed the football 99 times for 517 yards (5.2 yards/carry), and 8 TDs.  Moore also caught 3 passes for 7 yards.  Moore is the more powerful of Missouri's TBs, and was often utilized in short yardage situations.

Freshman Henry Josey 5'10" 185 rushed the football 76 times, for 437 yards (5.8 yards/carry), and 5 TDs.  Josey, who started 1 game, had 4 receptions, for 19 yards, and returned 1 kick-off, for 20 yards.   Josey is the fastest, and most explosive, of Missouri's backs, and was effective running inside as well as outside.

Sophomore Kendial Lawrence 5'9" 190 had one start for Missouri, and rushed for 422 yards, and 4 TDs, on 73 carries (5.8 yards/carry).  He also had 5 receptions, for 56 yards.  Lawrence is a very good receiver, and is effective running inside or outside.

Freshman Marcus Murphy 5'9 175 rushed for 181 yards, and 2 TDs, on 22 carries (8.2 yards/carry).  Murphy is an excellent receiver, although he made just 2 receptions, for 5 yards, during 2010.  Murphy took over the kick-off return duties for Missouri early in the season, and had 24 returns, for 475 yards (19.8 yards/return).  Murphy is extremely quick, and is another explosive back, who can make people miss.  His 69-yard TD run against Texas Tech was a thing of beauty.

Missouri ran the football on 47% of their offensive plays in 2010.  That's not accounting for the number of passing plays that ended up being a QB run, or for the quick screen passes to the outside, that function as a running play in Missouri's offense, and are counted as runs by the Missouri staff.  Considering that those two categories are roughly equal in number, it appears that Missouri's offense was only slightly weighted toward the passing game. 

Two ways in which Missouri's TBs were under-utilized, or inneffective, was in the passing game, and in the utilization of the option pitches, or quick outs, which are also an extension of the running game.  The problem with those types of plays was in executuion, since future NFL QB Blaine Gabbert struggled to execute the pitch plays, and many of the short throws to his backs.  Often times, he just didn't throw the ball to the TB, even when they were open.

All four of Missouri's TBs will return for 2011.  A fifth scholarship TB, freshman Greg White 6'1" 215, red-shirted in 2010, and will enter the mix next season as a versatile, physical runner.
With so many quality, young, yet experienced, backs on the Tigers' roster, TB appears to be a position of strength for Missouri, moving forward.

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