In this day and age of everybody being a reporter and with so many people connected to the program on campus from support personnel to players and everybody likes to talk football, there are bound to be a lot of rumors. Several blogs shot one out today regarding the health of running back Rennie Childs.
Being permitted to watch practice as a member of the Oklahoma State Cowboys Network broadcast team I cannot and will not comment on what I see at practice. That is an agreement that I have as a professional and will not violate it. What I can report is that starting running back Chris Carson did have an ankle injury last Saturday at Texas and after it was examined he was taped up and reportedly could have played.
He did not sit the game out on the bench or the treatment table but was fully dressed, new tape job, shoe and sock back on and standing by the offensive coaching staff when the offense was on the field. My opinion is he should be able to play this Saturday versus Kansas State. Now it is kind of in Oklahoma State's best interest from a competitive standpoint if there is uncertainty as to who will man the running back position on Saturday as different backs have different styles and strengths and weaknesses.
I'd say today's blogging activity probably put some uncertainty on the situation. None of the bloggers were at practice and the rest of the preparation leading up to the game is walk-through oriented, which don't require a lot of physical exertion.
I remember last season when TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who was feeling like his team's injuries were getting out on blogs on social media and the internet, let it slip that starting quarterback Trevone Boykin had a serious wrist injury and did not practice the week of the game with Oklahoma State. It was all over the internet and on Saturday my first job was to eyeball Boykin and gage if he looked capable of playing. The obvious answer was that he did. He played alright and threw for 410 yards and rushed for another 41 yards in the TCU rout 42-9. Patterson was trying to find out how the information was leaking and the word was he did.
My job on Saturday will be to check on the Cowboy running backs and see who is suited up and who looks ready to go. The real crucial part of all this is trying to not kick start but to kick up a running game that is averaging 160.5 yards a game and 4.1 yards per carry. Head coach Mike Gundy would like to see closer to 180 to 200 yards rushing a game and an average of 4.5 yards or more per carry.
Here is a breakdown game by game by ball carrier.
Chris Carson has 65 carries for 274 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, which is very close to the team average and he has the most carries. He does have three touchdowns.
vs. Central Michigan 21 carries for 89 yards - Carson had only two double-digit runs and if you break off his gains at his average of 4.2 yards, he had 9 carries for 65 yards and an average of 7.2 yards a carry. Below his average he had 12 carries for 24 yards and 2.0 yards a carry.
vs. Central Arkansas 15 carries for 42 yards and this one is borderline mystifying as Carson had 4 carries for 54 yards and 13.5 yards per carry and the other 11 carries added up to -12 yards for an average of -1.1 yards a carry.
vs. UTSA 17 carries for 104 yards and the only 100-yard game a Cowboys runner has had this season. He had 7 carries for 84 yards (12.0 yards a carry) and the other 10 carries gained 20 yards (2.0 yards per carry).
vs. Texas 12 carries for 39 yards with 4 carries for 29 yards and 7.3 yards per carry and 8 carries for 10 yards and 1.2 yards per carry.
Rennie Childs has 42 carries on the season for 177 yards, and an average of the same 4.2 yards per carry as Carson and just above the team average of 4.1 yards.
vs. Central Michigan 5 carries for 36 yards, but one of those carries was for 26 yards.
vs. Central Arkansas 8 carries for 50 yards but one of those carries was for 35 yards and 3 carries for 59 yards, with the other five carries for -9 yards.
vs. UTSA 8 carries for 37 yards
vs. Texas 21 carries for 54 yards as he came in to spell the injured Carson. The interesting breakdown here is that if you take away his last seven carries in the game which netted 1 yard then the other 14 carries gained 53 yards for an average of 3.8 yards, but actually that is as good of a sustained load of carries throughout a major portion of a game as that covers the second and third quarters.
Jeff Carr has 10 carries for 51 yards and an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
vs. Central Michigan no carries.
vs. Central Arkansas 6 carries for 41 yards and an average of 6.8 yards per carry.
vs. UTSA 3 carries for 8 yards.
vs. Texas 1 carry for 2-yards
Raymond Taylor has 3 carries for 76 yards, all against UTSA and that includes a 58-yard touchdown run.
What this shows with a team total is 120 carries by these four running backs for 578 yards and an average of 4.8 yards per carry. If you break out the best of the running game as we did above with each back then you have 63 carries for 534 yards and an average of 8.5 yards a carry. The worst of the work from above is 57 carries for 44 yards and a 0.8 yards per carry average.
Now a refresher course on Jeff Carr as the 5-7, 173-pound running back is bigger and stronger in certain areas after a summer in the weight room with Rob Glass and his staff. Carr had a solid fall camp and at times in practice made electrifying plays that really caught the attention of the head coach and everybody else. So far this season he has 10 carries for 51 yards, and of course, one of those carries went for 23 yards.
In high school as a senior he had 1,710 yards rushing on 179 carries for an average of 9.6 yards on the way to the state championship. As a junior he ran for 1,827 yards on 232 carries and scored 18 touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. As a sophomore he rushed for 1,633 yards on the varsity.
A quick look back at tape you see the things that make you scratch your head as to why he did not have more Division I offers. Carr shows on tape double and triple dance moves on plays but the ability to stick his foot in the ground and really get after it. He has a power move for a slight running back and is seen carrying as many as three and four tacklers on plays.
On some plays he leaps, although not completely over defenders like Carson did in the Central Arkansas game, he does a full 360-degree move on one play and does a lot of spin moves in and out of traffic. If Carr has to carry the load on Saturday as some are reporting he has more moves than you see from backs that make their way to the Division I level.
Who will he remind you of? Think a cross between Kendall Hunter and Dantrell Savage with more speed. Carr clocked a 4.37 this summer when he reported to Oklahoma State and was tested by Rob Glass and his staff.