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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From the Mailbag: Blocking Backs

Before doing interviews with the team on Wednesday, I asked via Twitter if anyone had any questions for Joe Cox or Caleb King, whom I'd requested to talk to that day. I only got one question, and it was for King, who as it turned out, wasn't available to talk anyway. But, I don't give up quite that easily, so I tried to at least find something resembling a response.

Anyway, the question comes from @CrossfitDawg13, who writes: I'd love to hear how much Caleb thinks his pass blocking has improved over last year.

King wasn't around, but I did get to talk to Richard Samuel. He wasn't exactly excited about expanding on the virtues and weaknesses of his competition for the starting tailback job, but he was happy to tell me just how important blocking (and the other away-from-the-ball fundamentals) was going to be in deciding just who earned the job of primary ball-carrier in 2009.

"That's basically what Coach (Bryan McClendon) is looking for is someone who will still get the job done without the ball," Samuel said. "You need to run your routes, make the blocks, make the right reads – having those components is something essential that the coach is looking for to be the running back that gets the most touches."

1 comment:

ChicagoDawg said...

Obviously, it is important to be able to pass protect, carry out fakes, etc., However, I have come to realize that when hear coaches talking a lot about a given player (set of players) needing to work on the "little things" or "away from the ball" skills that you mention, it is basically a euphemistic way of saying the kid is not able to move the chains or take it to the house. When a back can make people miss, run over tacklers or run around them, all while protecting the ball, they play -- period. You find a way to get them the rock and game plan around the other facets. Sadly, I am afraid we may be looking at that with this current stable of backs. It is still early and I hope I am wrong, but dynamic game changing backs seem to have "it" or they don't and they never will, perhaps Ealey will be that guy.