If Darius Terry looks over his shoulder this season, he hopes it will be to spot potential tacklers.
The Wyoming coaches can only hope that is the case
Terry is getting his chance at running back for Wyoming this season, with no Devin Moore or Wynel Seldon to contend with, as both have used up their eligibility.
It's Terry's time to step in.
Every spring, I kind of knew I was fighting for the third spot, behind Devin and Wynel," Terry said. "Coming into this spring, it was wide open. I feel like the coaches can see what I can do and I'm not in anybody's shadow."
Two of the best rushers in Cowboy history, Moore and Seldon had the top two spots in the backfield covered for the past four years. Terry isn't exactly a newcomer, as he has 42 yards on 17 carries in his career, with all but one carry last season.
This will likely be the year to get that extended playing time he has coveted. Sophomore James Davis, redshirt freshman James Caraway and upcoming freshman Alvester Alexander will also be in the mix at running back.
On Saturday in the Brown and Gold Spring Game, Terry had 49 yards rushing on 11 carries and one touchdown. It has been a good spring for the junior from Colorado Springs, Colo.
I feel like I have been going hard all spring," Terry said. "You have to get a chance to see it. As an offense, I think we have been going hard, but the scrimmages are a chance for the fans and the media a little bit what we're putting in.
Like most of the Cowboy offensive players, Dave Christensen's no huddle, up-tempo offense had Terry intrigued and a little mystified at first.
I didn't know what to expect," Terry said. "When the coaches first got here, I thought, ‘The spread offense, man, here it comes … 90 passes a game. We're going to be like Hawaii.' But I sat down to watch some tape when they first got here and I'm like, ‘This is it. This is a perfect fit for me and the team. It has the perfect mix of run and pass. If the run is not working, then the pass … if the pass isn't open, then go to the run."
Along with the extended playing time, the biggest adjustment for Terry has been the pass routines.
"It took me a whole to run the receiver spot. I had never done that in my career," he said. "I had always been comfortable catching routes out of the backfield, but lining up as a receiver took me a little bit to get used to. I think I'm getting the hang of it now."
Other than the hard running of Moore and Seldon, it's no secret that the Cowboy offense sputtered the last couple of seasons. While there may still be struggles with the transition, Terry said where they are at this time compared to the beginning of spring drills is a big improvement.
"We've gone a 180 from where we started," Terry said. "We came out undisciplined, not running to the line, not going full-speed all of the time. We're not where we want to be yet, but we have saying called, ‘Break the rock.' We're chipping away at that rock every single day."
For the Cowboys to be where they want to be offensively, Terry said each and every player has to be on the same page.
"There's no backing down in Cowboy football," Terry said.