Monday, July 16, 2012

The Pulse of Cougar Nation: Running Backs

Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo
Ever since Lavell Edwards arrived at BYU as head football coach in 1972, the Cougars' team rushing attack has only managed to gain more than 2,000 yards in seven seasons out of 40. Two of those seasons were 2010 and 2011. Much to the dismay of some Cougar fans, that feat has been accomplished during the last two years despite the use of a true feature back (like a Harvey Unga, Curtis Brown, etc.).  BYU has used a running-back-by-committee approach as of late.

2012 brings us another running-back-by-committee team. In fact, with a mobile QB like Riley Nelson as the full-time starter, the committee gets another member to help out. 

Here's what the fans thought of the rushing game for 2012 (based on 163 responses for each question):




In spite of the fact BYU has gained over 2,000 rushing yards in only seven of the last 40 years, 73.5 percent of the respondents believe BYU will reach that goal for the eighth time in that span, which would also be the third season in a row. I was a tad surprised 23 percent felt the Cougars would gain over 2,300 yards rushing this year, considering it has only happened three times in the last 40 seasons. Not to say it couldn't happen again, but I was surprised it was the answer with the most votes for that survey question. To me, the average response of about 2,130 is probably more likely.

I'd guess the main reasons for that is the excitement around mobile QB Riley Nelson and what he was able to accomplish. What Michael Alisa brought to the team in the second half of last season probably factored in what fans thought. Alisa got over 68 percent of the votes for the 2012 leading rusher. Josh Quezada had a down year in 2011, battling injuries and whatnot, but fans may believe in a comeback season in 2012 for him, since 27 percent of the participants believe he will be the leading rusher for BYU this season. It will be interesting to see how the offensive line, once again touted as "great" (I feel like we've heard that before), holds up and what Iona Pritchard, who missed all of last season with an injury, will bring to the running game.

While DiLuigi had only 584 yards last season as the leading rusher, he was able to gain 917 yards rushing in 2010, so it's hard to put the leading rusher at a specific number of yards. The average response for how many yards the leading rusher will gain was 773 yards. However, 38.7 percent of the survey believe it will be more than 800 yards.

BYU should be able to run the ball this year. They've done it successfully the last two seasons, and going off the remaining personnel, Cougar fans should be able to expect a 2,000+ yard season on the ground.


No comments:

Post a Comment