ASKED AND ANSWERED with Keith Ford

Running back talks sharing the load and Saturday's TD run

Are you excited about the jump in competition this weekend?

It’s just another week of preparing and everything for another opponent. You’ve got to respect each opponent, whoever you’re playing. It really doesn’t matter.

How has the O-line been this year so far?

They’re doing a great job. They’re the backbone of the offense. Everything really goes through them. From the pass pro to the blocking, we work together as a whole.

The running backs have really been able to break tackles in the backfield. How have you been able to accomplish that?

It’s just making plays. Coach Gundy really emphasizes running through tackles and being physical. What we do during the week shows on Saturdays.

Is it tough to get into a rhythm with three running backs alternating back there?

It’s really not. We’re a group, all three of us running backs. We help each other out and make sure we’re doing our best, make sure we’re running hard. Even when you’re standing on the sideline, you’ve got to be ready.

Were you surprised that you didn’t get touched on that long touchdown run?

Yeah, it kind of opened up. The offensive line did really good on that play. It was just one of those things where it opens up and you’re running free. It comes with preparation and the physicality of the game. … When it opened up, it was like two open doors. Nobody was there. I just saw the end zone. The only thing I could think about was run as fast as you can and get to the end zone.

You struggled with fumbles as a freshman. How did you get rid of the fumble-itis?

Just doing the little things in the offseason, really working on ball security. You’ve got to find ways to protect the ball regardless, even as defenders come at you. You don’t know where they’re coming from so you’ve got to protect it when you go through the hole.

Are you holding it differently?

Yeah, I used to hold it like I did in high school, high and tight. Coach Gundy really adjusted it and made it a little easier for me to carry the ball.

Have you been working on catching the football?

Yeah, we used to do 500 jugs a day. Just doing that, catching tennis balls, it really helps a lot.

Have you surprised yourself with your progress?

Yeah. When I started in high school, I really couldn’t catch the ball that well. But I worked on it. If you work on it, you get better at it come game time.

Did the catch over the middle against Louisiana Tech let you know that you’re reached another level?

That was one of the first times I actually ran a route and somebody actually threw it to me. Just focusing and catching the ball.

Does the running back group motivate each other?

In that running back room we’re all a family, we’re all brothers. We all encourage everybody to do their best. If somebody gets a big run or a touchdown, that’s not just him, that’s all of us. That’s how hard we work because we compete with each other week in and week out. Just that friendship we have and that bond we have.

Are you going to wear the new uniforms on Saturday?

Hopefully, I don’t know about that one. Hopefully we get to see them.


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