Competition and Cooperation

Behind Quincy Wilson, a number of talented backs are fighting for regonition in the spring and playing time in the fall. However, despite the air of competition, freshman Jason Colson says there's no animosity between the contestants.

"It's a competitive atmosphere, but everyone encourages everyone else," the softspoken freshman from New York said after a recent practice. "No one downplays anyone, and we're all working as a unit."

That attitude is important in building team chemistry, but it's also apparent that none of the backs are shrinking from the competition, either. Colson, Erick Phillips, Bryan Wright and Hikee Johnson have all ripped off more than one impressive runs during the spring, and each has shown different abilities in grabbing the attention of the coaches at various times during the 13 practices so far.

For Colson, the first attribute is speed. He's turned on the jets on a couple of occasions to turn ten yard gains into twenty yard gallops. Colson's running style is somewhat reminiscent of Eric Dickerson's. He sometimes runs with an upright body and lengthy stride, and he uses those gifts to good effect.

Coupling that natural ability with an understanding of the game is the next big step in the making of a running back, and Colson says he has begun to make progress in that regard.

"I've learned a lot since last year. Coach Magee has taught me a lot, and watching film and seeing Quincy and Avon on the field has helped me a lot too," Colson said.

Magee uses both good and bad results in the cutups he provides for his backs, so he can show them what works, what doesn't work, and the results of certain actions. And while Colson readily admits to the value of meeting room and video work, he also says that it can't be all put together until he gets out on the field.

"You really learn from both," Colson said as he discussed the differences in off the field and on the field work. "You learn how to read defenses, and you get the basic plays down, but you don't get the full effect until you get out on the field and play. You learn in the classroom, but you don't get it all until you start playing."

After a year on the scout team, Colson is ready to start playing on the field, and his performance this spring has put him right in the thick of the hunt for playing time this fall.

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