Spring Preview: Running Backs

The Rockets have some really good depth at the running back position. Last season DaJuane Collins was on a tear before getting injured late in the game against Fresno State. Morgan Williams got better and better as the season went on, and showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with.

The Rockets have some really good depth at the running back position. Last season DaJuane Collins was on a tear before getting injured late in the game against Fresno State. Morgan Williams got better and better as the season went on, and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with when he set a new school record for rushing yards in a game with 330 yards and three touchdowns against Miami University.

For the season the two combined for 1710 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Morgan Williams averaged 6.0 yards per rush, while DaJuane Collins averaged 5.5 yards per rush.

With a new coaching staff, Morgan and DaJuane will need to prove themselves, just like the rest of the running backs on the squad. Winter conditioning and Spring practices are the time to do just that. Below is a preview of the running back position heading into Spring practices.

Alex Golesh takes over as running backs coach at Toledo this year. Golesh was at Oklahoma State the last couple of years, and followed head coach Tim Beckman to Toledo.

"As a group, I'm really excited with the talent here," Coach Golesh said of the group of running backs on Toledo's roster. "We have the potential to be very special," he added.

The running back position is wide open, and there really isn't a depth chart at this time. So with that in mind, we will use an order of class rank to go through the running backs.

First up is DaJuane Collins. Last season he accounted for 700 yards and 5 TD's in just 10 games. He was also limited in some games he played in, because of an ankle injury that he originally suffered against Fresno State early in the year. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry in 2008.

"(DaJuane is a) great senior leader and will contribute greatly," said Coach Golesh. "(He) does everything right on and off the field and is going to help us a ton in the run game and in pass protection."

Next is junior Johnnie Bush. "(Bush is a) walk on who is going to find a spot on special teams," said Coach Golesh. "He's a very good kid and is picking up the system as well."

Up next is Morgan Williams. As a redshirt freshman last season, he rushed for 1,010 yards and 6 TD's while averaging 6.0 yards per carry. He broke a school single game record with 330 yards rushing against Miami University. He will be a sophomore in 2009.

"Had a great freshman year and will also contribute a great deal," said Golesh. "(He's) a great athlete who can flex out in the slot and do a lot of things in pass protection as well. He has been doing a great job of learning the system and can be a top back in the country as he matures."

Next up is Jake Walker. Walker was a true freshman last season, rushing for 67 yards and averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

"(Jake Walker) played some last year and had several breakout games," Coach Golesh said. He added, "Bigger back who can pound the ball when needed. He has also done a great job learning the system and figures to contribute a lot next season."

Finally is Darius Reeves. "(Reeves) grey shirted last season, so he will be a freshman this spring," Golesh said. "He had a tremendous career at Gahanna Lincoln High School and we're all excited to see what he can do. Can be a contributor as well."

These five athletes are the ones to keep an eye on this spring at the running back position. One person I did not mention is Adonis Thomas. Thomas played some running back and slot receiver last year as a redshirt freshman. While he may play some at running back in 2009, he is being looked at more as a slot receiver heading into spring practices.



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