Position Preview: Running Backs

Like most of the offense, the Texas Tech running backs return their key component from last season. With Taurean Henderson returning, the starting job is secure, but where will everyone else fit in?

Taurean Henderson, who is coming off a season in which he gained 1,453 all purpose yards, will be the starter at running back. His off-season improvements have centered around using the offensive line better, and picking up on blitzes. Behind Henderson will be redshirt freshman Johnnie Mack. Mack is another quick running back who can make defenders miss with blindingly fast cuts. Other than the backup role, Mack will be limited. One possibility could be a backfield with Mack and Henderson. This would allow for a lot of speed out of the backfield, and would put extra pressure on opposing linebackers. Sophomore Sione Havili has made a huge impact in fall workouts. Havili is the best power back that Texas Tech has had under Head Coach Mike Leach. Havili will primarily play as a blocking back in two-back sets. He will also get carries in short yardage situations, though that role will probably expand. The coaches feel that they can use Havili in pretty much any situation, including pass catching. Loliki Bongo-Wonga is probably the odd man out in this offense. He won't see much playing time unless one of the players in front of him is injured.

This unit should improve over last season. Henderson is even quicker this year, and the addition of Mack will mean little rest for the opposing defense. Havili might be the most exciting addition. He offers a great change of pace from the quicker guys, and gives the Red Raiders a true power back. Just like Henderson helped make this offense click last season, Havili will make this offense even better if he gets significant carries. Other parts of the offense should help the running backs as well. With B.J. Symons and the receivers stretching the field, there should be more room for the running backs to work. Look for this to result in an increased run percentage in the upcoming season.

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