Arroyo Positive When Discussing Running Backs

Oklahoma State assistant coach Marcus Arroyo is excited to see how much the Cowboys running backs have improved this spring.

When he met with the media after Wednesday's practice Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy proclaimed, among other things, that senior-to-be running back Chris Carson was running the ball well. That's the same Chris Carson that was trumpeted as an answer to the Cowboys rushing offense woes in the 2014 season. The same Chris Carson that said he was hoping to be a one-and-done player in Stillwater and declare for the NFL Draft.

Carson is back along with often promising but sometimes disappointing Rennie Childs, uplifting walk-on Raymond Taylor, and pint size but now bigger Jeff Carr. It's not all on the running backs. The offensive line gets the same scrutiny in looking for answers to why a school that was once "Tailback U." struggles running the football.

In fact, this summer the man that helped dub OSU home of the tailback, Barry Sanders' son Barry J. Sanders, will arrive from Stanford with his degree and a season of eligibility to try and jump start the once revered running attack.

In the meantime, Carson, Childs, Taylor and Carr represent not a law firm but the hopes of seeing the run game improve this spring. I agree with Gundy on Carson. He looks like the off-season program trimmed him a little and contributed a step of speed he did not have last fall.

Carr is about 10 to 15 pounds heavier and he has mini-Jeremy Smith guns for biceps. Childs is staying healthy and appears as hungry as ever to prove he is the guy. Taylor simply makes things happen when he gets the chance as he did as the leading rusher among the backs last season, at least by per carry average (6.3 yards).

Running backs coach Marcus Arroyo feels after five practices that his crew is improved and they are fighting through any anger and frustration from last season and any outside criticism that came at them because of it. Arroyo is a positive attitude guy, yet also a realist. He doesn't sugarcoat it, but could be accused of applying a spoonful of sugar with his message.

He says he's learned, they've all learned from a year together and from last season period. The result is far from finished, but they are putting the work in. The report card or progress report after all 15 practices this spring is what Arroyo is more concerned with, but to get what he wants the running backs have to get better everyday. This group needs to show a steady incline.


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