Anthony Kimble Interview

One of the important stories, though not heavily discussed in this fall camp, is the surge of running back Anthony Kimble. 2006 is his first year in college working solely in the backfield, after a midyear switch in '05. He is visibly faster, both athletically and in his reads of the field in front of him. The redshirt sophomore talked with us this week about his camp, progress and expectations.

Obviously you missed the start of camp with the illness.  You're an intrinsically confident guy, Anthony, but are you all the way 100 percent yet?

"I'm still fighting the normal bumps and bruises of going through camp.  But I feel like I'm totally over the infection.  I'm just now just fighting the normal bumps and bruises.  It's been a hard camp.  A long camp.  I'm just getting through it.  I feel like I'm ready, and I'm preparing to play Oregon next week."

The coaches have talked about changing up the blocking and running scheme this year to make things easier and also more successful.  What do you see that's different out there, that will make you a more successful running back versus last year?

"Like you said, it's not as complicated of blocking schemes.  We have one read, and we're making our cuts really quick off the read.  It's not a lot of technicalities in the running game.  It's simplified for the O-line so that they know their keys.  They're getting to their keys really quick.  I feel like it's making the running game more successful.  We just need to all get on the same page and get it done."

You guys did not run the ball as well on Saturday as you did on Wednesday, in the respective scrimmages.  You in particular had run the ball really well on Wednesday.  What did you see when you looked at the film from Saturday for your plays, with why you couldn't break a little more?

"I felt that as an offense, we probably came out a little bit overconfident and not with a lot of energy.  We could have played better.  It was a lot of simple mistakes - guys not getting their reads.  I was slow on some of my reads.  Everybody wasn't on the same page like we need to be on our offense for it totally click."

You look, easily to my eyes, so much faster than last year.  How much of that is physical, and how much of that is your understanding of the position this year and how fast you read plays?

"I feel like I worked really hard during the summer and the off-season with Coach [Ron] Forbes.  He did a great job with us on speed training in the spring and in the summer.  Also, I am seeing things a lot quicker now.  Things are a lot simpler - I'm not having to think as much.  That makes things easier."

Do you feel this year that you are naturally at home as a running back?  Last year when you came into fall camp, those were your first chances to be coached at the position.

"I feel like I'm still learning a lot, but I feel a lot more comfortable this year - when we're running the ball, getting my reads and being a lot more physical in the running game.  Especially with pass blocking.  I feel a lot more comfortable.  I'm not thinking as much stuff this year."

He hasn't been on the field for a week-plus now, but people saw those early practices from Toby Gerhart.  What do you think of him as the fresh, new young guy coming into your group?

"I think Toby is a really good player and has the potential to be a great player.  He just has to stay healthy.  You know, baseball might hurt his development in football a little bit.  But he's going to be a really good player.  He just has to stay healthy.  He probably should have played this year, but he just has to learn and he's been hurt the last week and a half during some critical time for him.  We just need to get him back in there and get him back learning stuff.  He pays a lot of attention in meetings.  He takes tons of notes.  He is very attentive.  He asks lots of questions.  But you can't play if you're not healthy."

You know what it means and how important it is to go all the way through camp.  Has he missed so much time now that it's too late for him?

"I don't know.  He's a really smart kid, and he's a great runner.  He takes a lot of mental rep's.  Once he's healthy, he'll be back in the fire and ready to go."

I know there are other guys in the group, but let's imagine for a moment that you and Toby are the one-two punch.  How do you think that you two could complement each other if you were the workhorses in a game in this offense?

"Toby brings a lot of power.  He's a big guy.  You really don't see freshmen that big, who bring that kind of power.  He hits the hole really hard.  He's not going to give you a lot of 'shake and bake.'  He's going to get it down 'north and south' when he runs the ball.  Me, I'm more slashing and a little more speed.  A little more catching the ball out of the backfield, so I'm a little bit more of a threat in the passing game.  We both have styles that can be successful together in this offense."

Where do you feel you are physically?  Are you going into this season and have you talked with the coaching staff that you can or should be an every-down runner through a game?  Are you a 20-carry guy?  Are you a 30-plus-carry guy?  What do you think?

"We really don't talk about that, but every day Coach [Buzz] Preston and I talk about getting ready and getting me more rep's.  Getting ready for the season.  Getting my legs ready.  JE [Jason Evans] has been hurt a lot, so he doesn't really have juice in his legs all the way right now.  They have been talking with me and Nick [Frank] about getting our bodies ready for the season, exploding through the hole and being more physical.  Just getting ready for the pounding and the physical game we will have to play at Oregon."

You have had several different coaches here.  You were a wide receiver and worked with Kenny Margerum.  Then the switch to running back and Wayne Moses.  Now you're with Buzz Preston.  What does Coach Preston bring to you that you think has lifted your game this year?

"He brings a lot of energy.  He brings a lot of energy in the meeting rooms.  He's not a guy who is going to get on you and yell and scream and curse, but he's going to bring energy and going to correct you when you're wrong.  He's never satisfied and always going to point out the things that you could have done better on that run.  He just has a lot of energy and brings that to the meeting room and to practice.  He's always on us to be to get better and be more successful."

Is there anything he has really worked hard with you to try and make you better?  Is there any part of your technique or an aspect of your running game that he is emphasizing?

"Not being that shifty.  Making that cut and getting 'north and south' quick.  That's the thing that he's really been on me a lot.  Just getting north and south, quick to the hole and getting those yards before the defense can collapse and can get to you, or before that backside pursuit gets to you."


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