Season Preview: Running Backs

Last season Zach Line rushed for 1,494 yards, the best in C-USA. And he's hungry for more this year.

In the Run-and-Shoot offense, SMU doesn't really emphasize a running game. But by no means is the backfield irrelevant when Zach Line is on your team.

Line, who was named First Team Conference USA last season, averaged 6.1 yards per carry, 106.7 yards per game, rushed for 1,494 yards (11th best in the nation, 1st in C-USA) and 10 touchdowns in 2010, trailing only Eric Dickerson for most single-season rushing yards in SMU history.

And he was just a sophomore. Now a year older, Line is recharged and ready to climb the ranks into the upper echelon of running backs in the country.

"My maturity level is higher," he said. "And with that maturity, I have more focus for the game, more means to get things done. I only have so much time left, so I want to make these last couple seasons count and take every week one at a time.

"I'm taking practice pretty personal this year, busting it all over the place, so if we lose, it will be more of a personal loss than before."

At 6-foot-1, 230 lbs., Line has the power to mow over and plow through defenses. He's also very agile, weaving in and out of obstacles all the way to the end zone.

A wrestler in high school and recruited as a linebacker, Line is an ideal back in the Run-and-Shoot since he is also a dominant blocker.

True freshman Jared Williams, who rushed for over 5,500 yards in three seasons at Bradenton Prep in Florida, breaking the school's record, was named Line's backup in the depth chart this week. Behind Williams is senior Bryce Lunday, junior Billy Dugal and freshman K.C. Nlemchi.

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