Coaches Q&A, Part I: Loney Talks Running Backs

Offensive coordinator Steve Loney has an interesting group of running backs, providing various skills but bringing with them durability questions. He addressed those questions in a Q&A with Viking Update.

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Loney is in his first season running the Vikings offense, but fourth season in charge of the Vikings' offensive line. This is his 29th season as a football coach.

Prior to joining the Vikings in 2002, Loney worked his third coaching stint at Iowa State, during which he was offensive coordinator and offensive line coach under Cyclones head coach Dan McCarney.

Loney also coached for the Gophers at Minnesota (1998-99), Iowa State (1995-97), Connecticut (1994), Arizona Cardinals (1993), Colorado State (1989-92), Citadel (1984-86), Morehead State (1979-83), Leavenworth H.S. (1977-78), Missouri Western State College (1975-76) and Iowa State (1974). He played collegiately at Iowa State from 1970-73.

Q: Injuries have made the once-deep stable of running backs suddenly appear thin. Because of those circumstances, are the Vikings going to have to settle on a running back by committee approach?

Anytime you have a running back that's carrying the load — and that doesn't necessarily mean every down — he can get a little more in the flow of things. And he can see things as opposed to being in a few plays and out a few plays. I think we have excellent talent at the running back spot. The more they can get in, they'll be able to see some of those cuts and get into that rhythm.

Q: Mike Tice said it during the first day of camp. Michael Bennett has said it several times during training camp. This is a big year for him, isn't it?

It's a huge year for him. He understands that. It gets back to that team thing. Everybody in the offense is going to benefit if the offense does well regardless of how we do it, or who's doing it. I know personally in watching Michael in the offseason, he's worked very hard for this season. Every player — when they work hard — wants to do well. Obviously the skill players want to be at the top of their game.

Q: Is Mewelde Moore' s durability a concern, especially when he is never far away from being the team's featured back?

I think he proved he can be that back a year ago. Some of the things we felt he had to improve on, he has this preseason. I think he is capable of being a starter. I think Moe Williams is a guy who's demonstrated that he can do more than be a role player.

Q: Why, then, doesn't Moe ever get that chance of being more than a role player?

Part of the reason he gets funneled into that role is because he does so very well at whatever we ask him to do. I think he has a good niche as a starter, too.

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