The Good, The Bad and The Questions: RB

FALL CAMP BEGINS in just 20 days at Washington State and one of the most-watched, and arguably the most contested, position battles will be at running back. In the first of a series of articles, we take a look at a stable of 'backs who provide Paul Wulff a myriad of both knowns and unknowns. Here's a closer, pre-fall camp look at the good, the bad and the questions surrounding running back…

The Good:
Lots of bodies, versatility and differing skills and running styles.

Logwone Mitz has experience, he can be a power runner between the tackles and can get you the tough yard. Chantz Staden is a slashing type of back, and after sitting out a season to rehab a torn ACL, had this spring, by far, his best showing since coming to Pullman -- and arguably the best spring of any running back.

Carl Winston has a little more speed and wiggle to his game. In a limited showing last season, he had a few runs that raised some fans' eyebrows. Marcus Richmond, a slasher-type with size, was on his way to having his best camp when injury hit. Still, the senior gave evidence he might be ready to make a splash.

James Montgomery is the type of back who can do it all – quick, slippery and with speed, and he has surprising power for his size, primarily due to using leverage to his advantage. That Monty is even still playing after a leg injury (acute compartment syndrome) that could have resulted in amputation, is both remarkable and a testament to his work ethic.

The Bad:
Montgomery wasn't ready to participate this spring and of the others, both Winston and Richmond missed chunks of time to injury, with Mitz also sidelined a bit. Ultimately, no one running back seized the job and there didn't appear to be a "star" in the group – at least not this spring.

The Questions:
Will one running back turn the corner and make himself a clear cut choice for the staff?

Will Monty be the same kind of running back he was, or will he be a little less slippery, a little less swift, a little easier to tackle?

Can Winston build on the brief flashes he's shown in limited time?

Can Mitz stay healthy and consistently hit the line with force, or will he run with less purpose at times than others?

Can Staden climb another rung or two, or did he hit his ceiling this spring?

Will Rickey Galvin, incoming true freshman, be ready to play in the Pac-10 now and if so, will he be a good one right off the bat or will there be growing pains?

What new wrinkles, and potential boosts in performance, will new running backs coach Dave Ungerer bring to the fore?

Final thoughts:
A solid run game, and/or the threat of a solid run game, is part of any good college football offense. And it's even more important for the Cougars this year to ram the ball down the gullet of opponents..

A productive Cougar running game will help the passing attack in a number of ways, not the least of which is to reverse a recent trend of the last couple years -- keeping a defense from calling for continual double A gap blitz packages, and more, with little concern to getting burned.

The Coug offense is designed to control the game -- from tempo to time and all points in between, and that means keeping a defense not only off balance, but on the field.

WSU's defense is faster this year, and young. But if they're out there constantly, it won't matter how young the legs are, they'll tire. And that will show up most in the fourth quarter and crunch time.

A solid running game is critical to the success of WSU in 2010 -- and that makes this position, and how it develops during fall camp, a must-watch. And CF.C will be on the ground to bring you all the action, insight and context.


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