Fri. Camp Report: Back-up RBs Getting It Done

With starting running back Tony Temple sidelined by a bruised knee, much of the focus has shifted toward the backup running backs. And the consensus so far is that the temporary loss of the Big 12's leading returning rusher is not a major blow. We also have an injury update, news on a freshman quickly working his way up the ranks and some interesting comments from head coach Gary Pinkel.

With Temple wearing a protective red jersey, much of the onus is being placed on senior Marcus Woods and juniors Jimmy Jackson and Earl Goldsmith, the three of whom combined for 349 yards and four touchdowns last year in limited duty.

"They all compete hard. All of them do. It's a great group of kids. Again, there's opportunity for other people. But Tony, when he comes back, he'll come back to number one just because of the rule that we have in terms of returning players from injuries. But certainly [those guys] are doing very good," Pinkel said.

"You always have is to go in and do your best. I think we've got a good group of running backs, not even counting those two freshman. Those guys are going to do a really, really good job. There's no question about that. Marcus Woods is working hard, all those guys are working hard … Jimmy Jackson and Marcus, they're veterans. They've played a lot and they're good football players."

Said Jackson: "We're out there working hard. Me, Woods, all of us. I'm pretty sure you can see that … I'm gonna work hard regardless whether he's here or not.
"I like him to be here, but I'm gonna work hard regardless."

Goldsmith was hampered Friday by a tweaked hamstring, but true freshman DeVion Moore used the opportunity to show off some impressive elusiveness and quickness. Moore used a quick in-and-out fake that left safety Pig Brown grasping at air and falling to the ground, and had several other impressive plays during which he juked past defenders.

"He's a quick little guy, man. He's got some quick feet," Jackson said.

Tight end Martin Rucker also has taken note of the waterbug from St. Louis, as well as fellow freshman Derrick Washington.

"The new guys are looking really quick on their feet. I didn't know too much about the incoming class but those knew guys are really impressing me," Rucker said.

"[Moore] caught that screen pass and I said man, that kid's pretty fast. He got it up field."

Temple, though, is in no danger of losing his job. Pinkel reiterated that starters don't lose their jobs to injury. And, of course, it would seem highly unlikely either. way. Pinkel added that he sees lots of promise in Washigton and Moore, though you have to keep in mind that MU's system requires quite a bit extra out of the running backs, making it more difficult for a freshman to make an impact.

"They have to run routes, they have to block, obviously they have to run the football. Athletically they probably have to be a different level than what we've had in the past. But all those kids are picking it up pretty good," he said.

Gettis Makes His Move
True freshman Carl Gettis continues to impress with his competitiveness and skill, and has been moved up to second string. With starters Hardy Ricks and Darnell Terrell sidelined, Gettis' emergence couldn't have come at a better time.

I think he can [make an impact], that's fair to say. I think, without putting any pressure on him, he looks as good as any freshman corner I've ever seen," Pinke said. "He's been doing it day after day and play after play, and he's also a great competitor … There's nothing for granted there, but he's been doing very, very well."

More From Pinkel

--- The depth chart will officially be formulated after the team scrimmages Tuesday morning at Faurot.

--- He's expecting a huge year out of Ziggy Hood: "He should be a dominant player. He's got to be a guy. He works remarkably hard. He played last year, hobbled here and there all year long, but he is a great competitor and he's got to produce. And he's got to produce," Pinkel said. "We have a very, very high level of expectation from him. He's very talented and we just need his play to match his work ethic because he's as hard a worker as we have on this football team."

--- Chase Patton gives the coaches confidence that things won't collapse should Chase Daniel miss any playing time: "He's really doing well. He really helps our football team. As far as playing in every game, I'm not sure what we'll do on that, we'll probably make a decision on that like we do before every football game. We were talking about that yesterday, that if he went in and ran the football team we'd be very, very comfortable. And that's a great tribute to him," Pinkel said. "The thing I'm pleased with is his competitiveness, his desire to stay here and fight and compete and his loyalty to his teammates and his program And in this day and age, with how selfish people are, that says a world about him."

-- He was asked to list where the team needs to improve most: "You don't have enough time. Everything needs to improve. Every single area needs to improve. We need to get our guys back on defense," he said. Everything a player does out there is a fundamental. There's a proper way of doing it …We all need to keep getting better doing it."

Injury Update

--Oft-injured outside linebacker Van Alexander's hamstring strain is "very minimal," Pinkel said. "That's good for him, because he's been through some adversity, and hopefully we can get him back. We have five starters out on defense right now," he said.

-- Goldsmith was limited by a tweaked hamstring.

-- Safety William Moore turned his ankle and missed 11-on-11.

-- Defensive back Justin Garrett is nursing a hip pointer.

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