He's a War Daddy, and when he squares his shoulders to the line of scrimmage and starts to come downhill then you better be ready to hit him or he is going to run right through you, around you, over you, under you or often right by you. He's Chris Polk, and he is easily one of the greatest running backs in the history of the Washington Huskies. He also might be one of the best college backs in the game right now.
He is not just a tough runner, but also a good blocker and a good pass receiver. Heck, he started his college career as a receiver but he is definitely a running back now, and the only ones I've seen who compare are Kaufman, Corey Dillon, Greg Lewis, and the great Hugh McElhenny, who I only witnessed as a professional (I didn't watch a lot of Joe Steele because I was a junior college coach when he played.).
Polk entered this season ranked sixth all-time in rushing for the school, and in five games has moved to second - passing Jacque Robinson, Vince Weathersby, Lewis, and then Steele. He is already second only to Dillon for a single season total, and at the rate he is going he has a definite chance to break that record as well. He is durable, he is confident, and he is tough.
He has a wonderful relationship with his position coach, Joel Thomas, who realized immediately what a special player Chris was, and it is their working partnership that has been so key in his development. Just as important is that this kid is going to graduate on time, and he is doing it for his mother who he is obviously is very close to.
Polk is certain to be a high draft pick because he is built for that game and he has the quick feet and drive that are so necessary for extra yards. He has learned blitz pickup and technique, and is a major threat out of the backfield in any kind of route.
Let's be real; if he continues to play like he is for the rest of this season, this is probably his last year playing for the Huskies. So what! Let's enjoy the ride. I'm sure he can put all of us on his back just like he does his team. He's a work horse and has endurance by seemingly getting better as a game goes on. He's a second half back, and if the Huskies and can learn to play from the front then he'll be at his best when opposing defenses begin to tire.
Every team will be loading the box against him, but because his offensive line is getting so much better he can just wait for the hole to develop. If it doesn't then he just takes what he can get and there can be no better second effort runner in college doing so. He can spin, he can juke, and now he has learned to get his shoulders down at just the last second for push. Plus, if he gets it going his coaches immediately start feeding him. It's almost like - where is his lunchbox? Because this guy is a working man.
It is his diversity to the offense though that makes him so special. He can do it all now and knows when to use his stiff arm, his elbow, his knees, and his shoulders to attack the tacklers. He is a contact runner. End. Of. Discussion.
At times he seems to hit the line slowly but that's just his patience showing and his maturity as a runner. He trusts his offensive line and often just waits for a seam to slip through. At other times he uses a little sideways hop to clear himself laterally.
Against Utah I got a chance to watch from the sideline again, and one time he came around the corner right at us and worked his way through traffic for a sizable gain. I loved his eyes and determination, and his linemen were running right there with him. It was obvious when they picked him up that he is their man. It's this working relationship, along with keeping healthy, that will determine how Chris finishes the rest of the season.
Whatever. If he plays like he did last weekend I'm going to savor every carry, because I know I'm watching a Husky Legend. To me he represents what Husky toughness is all about.
Like I said - he is a War Daddy.
Polk Leads Huskies to Great Road Win
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