Sam Hellman / Scarlet Report

Saturday Practice Report: Ball Security at Running Back

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- While the running back room is more focused in spring under new offensive coaches Jerry Kill and Lester Erb, where is there room for improvement?

The Headline – Head coach Chris Ash was quick to compliment his running backs for offseason improvement. Right after the compliments, however, came criticism in the turnover department.

Ball protection is improved in spring camp, but is not where it needs to be.

“We've got to continue to improve on that,” said running backs coach Lester Erb. “We're working on it every single day. The guys are starting to take pride in it. That's an area you've got to eliminate it. There's zero tolerance in our room right now.”

Seniors Robert Martin and Josh Hicks remain ahead of the pack with sophomores Trey Sneed and Charles Snorweah as the next men in the rotation.

“They've really made a great first impression on me – a new guy coming in here not knowing exactly what everybody was capable of,” Erb said. “I think Rob and Josh have really done a great job of leading the group and kind of moving them forward.”

While ball protection needs improvement, pass protection is an area of strength in Erb's eyes.

“They've done a great job so far of picking up blitzes,” Erb said. “I'm excited about it. Their attitudes are great every single day. They come to work every day. That's what I ask of them”.

Worth Noting – Snorweah missed last spring for academic reasons, and credits former position coach Zak Kuhr with his improved work ethic.

“He told me early when I was getting in trouble for everything from my academics, he told me to just think of my life as a book,” Snorweah said. “There's nothing better than, when you're reading a book and it starts off bad, then there's a good little turning point. I used that as motivation for me to not let anything in the past determine what I could do in the future.”

Quote of the Day – “I think the biggest thing with Rob right now is building that relationship with him. That's the big thing. Relationships are obviously built on trust and built on honesty. Rob and I have had some good conversations. I'm just really trying to get him to be a great leader for the group. Obviously him and Josh have done a great job here over their careers, and I don't know what happened last year. I don't look back. I'm a guy that tries to see guys as who they are and their potential and trying to get them to reach it. The conversations with Rob have been, how good do you want to be?” – Erb on relationship with Robert Martin.

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