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What's with our Running Backs?


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I sit every saturday during the fall in envy of other teams with big threat, breakaway type backs. I look at ours and wonder,

 

why the hell can't our guys try to cut it outside when no holes open up and beat the guy to the edge and outrun everybody?

 

why the hell do our guys get caught from behind when do they get on a breakaway?

 

why can't they make those game changing moves out in the open field to shake a defender and take it to the house?

 

Our guys are clocked just as fast as the best from around the nation (except maybe that little guy from LSU) why can't our guys run away from the secondary?

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They seem like they have ankle weights on. I too see other "no-name" backs attacking the whole and not giving up until they get what they want. They know exactly where the first down marker is and run their butts off and fight to get that extra yard. Our guys, for the most part, seem to go down easily and run straight into the biggest pile of linemen they can find. It also seems like when Aldridge starts to get warmed up and in a groove they pull him out or go with the pass. They dont use this guy enough. We all (and I me us, the media, haters, etc.) cant be nuts if we are seeing the same thing. The obvious answer is some sort of disconnect between player and coach.

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I think that there are several reasons:

 

1)OL - obviously there needs to be a hole to start with, or at least lack of penetration by the DL/LB.

 

2)WR blocking - we need better downfield blocking from the wide outs

 

3)S&C - for some reason our S&C conditioning staff doesn't seem to work on the speed aspect of S&C - for that matter they don't work on the strength part either.

 

So in a nut shell, as with most problems with this team, its coaching.

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The OL is of course the main problem here. However the question at hand is how our running backs are performing.

 

I feel that we have under utilized James Aldridge this year. I know Weis likes Allen and I know the reasons why, but I think Aldridge could be an every down type of back either power or finesse. Can he catch screen passes or the underneath routes the way Allen does? I don't know, but between the tackles Aldridge has been much improved this year. I think he has been patient and finding small holes when sometimes there are none. I love Hughes but when I watched him this year he looked like a backup back.

 

Allen - 130 carries, 4.4 average, 3 TDs, long of 21

Aldridge - 90 carries, 4.0 average, 3 TDs, long of 19

Hughes - 95 carries, 3.4 average, 3 TDs, long of 18

 

It's surprising how we don't have a longer run from these three (Tate had a l24 yd run and Harrison Smith had 35 on a fake punt). It's like Aldridge is not quite Beanie Wells, and Allen is not quite Joe McKnight. And by "not quite" I mean same body type, no breakaway capability.

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I sit every saturday during the fall in envy of other teams with big threat, breakaway type backs. I look at ours and wonder,

 

why the hell can't our guys try to cut it outside when no holes open up and beat the guy to the edge and outrun everybody?

 

why the hell do our guys get caught from behind when do they get on a breakaway?

 

why can't they make those game changing moves out in the open field to shake a defender and take it to the house?

 

Our guys are clocked just as fast as the best from around the nation (except maybe that little guy from LSU) why can't our guys run away from the secondary?

it's the same problem as the rest of the team, they don't know how to be winners. it's really as simple as that.

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Guest irishcop

I think its both the talent and the coaching,,,Hughes,,Allen,,,and Alridge will never be stars,,,none of them will be playing on Sundays,,,now Jonas and Wood when he gets here might be different stories

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I think its both the talent and the coaching,,,Hughes,,Allen,,,and Alridge will never be stars,,,none of them will be playing on Sundays,,,now Jonas and Wood when he gets here might be different stories

 

I think that Hughes has the talent/size to play on Sundays, we just have to use him right and get some blocking so that he can show his skills.

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i know the OL has something to do with it, but i also think its the running backs.

Allen is supposed to be the fast one, but i dont think hes fast enough. he doesnt seem to break tackles and hes done. Hughes is supposed to be the strong one, but i dont think hes strong enough. hes too slow and doesnt break enough tackles when they tackle him.

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OL and Scheme.

 

Our OL cannot run block. There are no holes, and there is always at least 2 people from the opposing team in the backfield.

 

Scheme - Our backs typically line up in single back formation 6+ yards behind the LoS. By the time that our backs get the ball the #1 issue = 1 yard gains.

 

There is only 1 back on the planet that would do something with our line, and he retired from the NFL a few years ago and wore the #20.

 

 

There is little blame that can be put on our backs. It is 90% OL and 10% scheme.

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I don't like the way we coach our RB's. Case in point:

 

Armando Allen. I thought he had a very good year and I was proud of his effort and toughness. But he was either trying to run through tackles (which is what you should do at the end of a run) or run completely away from tackles. None of our RB's attempt to "run by" tackles or through arm tackles.

 

He would either try to beat a guy to a space and run out of room or brace himself and hit the tackler himself, rather than trying to scoot through tight spaces (Aldridge did that even more than anyone as well). That's what creates long runs despite a lack of dominant blocking. Take a look at Nyshier Oliver's film to get an idea of what i mean (though I don't expect him to play RB at ND).

 

Not saying it's THE answer, just a small nit of mine.

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OL and Scheme.

 

Our OL cannot run block. There are no holes, and there is always at least 2 people from the opposing team in the backfield.

 

Scheme - Our backs typically line up in single back formation 6+ yards behind the LoS. By the time that our backs get the ball the #1 issue = 1 yard gains.

 

There is only 1 back on the planet that would do something with our line, and he retired from the NFL a few years ago and wore the #20.

 

 

There is little blame that can be put on our backs. It is 90% OL and 10% scheme.

one yard gains?? i think you meant 3 yard losses..............
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I think its both the talent and the coaching,,,Hughes,,Allen,,,and Alridge will never be stars,,,none of them will be playing on Sundays,,,now Jonas and Wood when he gets here might be different stories

 

isn't that what we said about Allen and Hughes coming in? "Darius Walker will never be a star, but don't worry, we have a break away game changing back in Allen"

 

and big backs usually make it in the NFL, I honestly think with proper coaching, Hughes and Aldridge would be very good

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this is not an issue with the RB as much as with the OL. i know that has been said.

Weis is clearly not using these guys in a fashion that alot of colleges do. the RB has a ton more responsibilities in the pro game and it's alot on these kids to pick up. I think this is why we have seen allen playing, i think he was more of a threat on the dump down, be that from better catching or more of a threat in space, and that was a calculation against teams binging pressure at jimmy, i dont think it worked btw.

 

I would cite dillon with the pats as a big back that weis used effectively, who could also perform the blocking duties of the rb, which are more mental than physical.

 

otherwise, speed is useless if not directed into space. i would suggest that the dancing behind the line has to stop, hit the f'in hole.

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The OL is of course the main problem here. However the question at hand is how our running backs are performing.

 

I feel that we have under utilized James Aldridge this year. I know Weis likes Allen and I know the reasons why, but I think Aldridge could be an every down type of back either power or finesse. Can he catch screen passes or the underneath routes the way Allen does? I don't know, but between the tackles Aldridge has been much improved this year. I think he has been patient and finding small holes when sometimes there are none. I love Hughes but when I watched him this year he looked like a backup back.

 

Allen - 130 carries, 4.4 average, 3 TDs, long of 21

Aldridge - 90 carries, 4.0 average, 3 TDs, long of 19

Hughes - 95 carries, 3.4 average, 3 TDs, long of 18

 

It's surprising how we don't have a longer run from these three (Tate had a l24 yd run and Harrison Smith had 35 on a fake punt). It's like Aldridge is not quite Beanie Wells, and Allen is not quite Joe McKnight. And by "not quite" I mean same body type, no breakaway capability.

 

You know what is the saddest part of this post. You listed our top 3 RB's and they have a combined total of 9 rushing TD's. That is an absolutely astonashing fact. Tim Tebow alone has 12. Chris Brown at OU has over double what our top three combined have (20) and their backup RB has 14! We are really really bad.

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Good point domeanddomer.

 

There are many sad things about our running game, and I never thought of that particular fact. Also sad is that our longest run from our top three running backs is 21 yards. That is really pathetic and I have to believe that is RB coaching. Our longest runs came from a linebacker on a couple of fake punts and our wide receiver on a reverse.

 

On a side note I think Aldridge's average was skewed on the lower end because a lot of the times he was the one called on to convert 3rd and 1 or the short goal line runs. I would like to see him in an every down situation and see how he would do through the course of a game.

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