OKLAHOMA STATE SPRING FOOTBALL POSITION REVIEW: Running Back

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Smith's inability to step into the void left by Joseph Randle opened the door for Desmond Roland. A true freshman, however, may have made the most of Smith's struggles. Can Rennie Childs expand on the promise he showed in 2013?

These two videos encapsulate the outlook for RB in 2014...

Rennie Childs bursting onto the scene against TCU:

And Desmond Roland with one of the slowest TD runs I've ever witnessed by a starting running back:

2013 was the first season since 2006 without a 1,000 yard rusher.

These two carry the torch for what used to be called "Running Back U." While 2013 wasn't spectacular, and the struggles on the offensive line definitely impacted their productivity, Roland and Childs showed us enough to believe that this position will be in fine hands in 2014. OSU returns their leading rusher from 2013 and

-65.7% of the total RB yards rushing;
-64.6% of the total RB rushing attempts;
-and 60.9% of the RB rushing TD's.

There is still room, however, for a third body to pick up some carries. Gundy likes to have an extra RB ready to go in case of injury.

26 Roland, Desmond RB 6-2 210 SR Dallas, TX/Lake Highland
20 Bennett, Corey RB 5-9 190 JR Choctaw, OK/Choctaw
2 Muncrief, Caleb RB 5-8 190 JR Madill, OK/Madill
22 Gates, Otis RB 5-7 185 JR Newnan, GA/Newnan
30 Taylor, Raymond RB 5-7 190 JR Wichita, KS/Collegiate/Kansas State
23 Childs, Rennie RB 5-10 180 SO Houston, TX/Cypress Ridge
27 Webster, Corion RB 5-11 185 RS FR Atlanta, TX/Atlanta
9 Thomas, Devon RB 5-11 210 FR Broken Arrow, OK/Broken Arrow


If I was looking down the depth chart for viable candidates, Webster and early enrollee Thomas would be the names I would gravitate towards. Another player that might get a shot is incoming recruit Sione Palelei (5-10, 202), but regardless the Cowboys will find someone to fill that role.

The key will be restoring some dominance to the rushing attack. If we look only at TD's the ground game carried it's part of the load:

Year Att Yds YPC Long TD's
2008 582 3191 5.5 68 38
2011 392 2062 5.3 81 36
2012 519 2799 5.4 69 35
2013 503 2235 4.4 67 35
2004 594 2844 4.8 58 32
2007 592 3161 5.3 57 30
2006 522 2704 5.2 70 28
2010 450 2267 5.0 69 26
2009 555 2441 4.4 69 22
2005 432 1693 3.9 83 16


However, if we look at yards per carry and total yards we get a different story:

YPC

Year Att Yds YPC Long TD's
2008 582 3191 5.5 68 38
2012 519 2799 5.4 69 35
2011 392 2062 5.3 81 36
2007 592 3161 5.3 57 30
2006 522 2704 5.2 70 28
2010 450 2267 5.0 69 26
2004 594 2844 4.8 58 32
2013 503 2235 4.4 67 35
2009 555 2441 4.4 69 22
2005 432 1693 3.9 83 16


Total yards:

Year Att Yds YPC Long TD's
2008 582 3191 5.5 68 38
2007 592 3161 5.3 57 30
2004 594 2844 4.8 58 32
2012 519 2799 5.4 69 35
2006 522 2704 5.2 70 28
2009 555 2441 4.4 69 22
2010 450 2267 5.0 69 26
2013 503 2235 4.4 67 35
2011 392 2062 5.3 81 36
2005 432 1693 3.9 83 16


BTW...how bad was 2005?

I know stats-wise there are some pretty good seasons represented on the bottom of these lists, but it didn't feel like the running game was a difference maker in 2013. Playcalling was a bit mysterious at times, and you can blame some of it on the aforementioned offensive line struggles, but this position group needs to figure out a way to find yards when the hole doesn't exist. Somebody needs to find their "shimmy shake." Joseph Randle was perfectly designed for an offense that looks to create space, as he created LOTS of extra yards with his patented move.

Wouldn't hurt to see a little more of the diamond formation either. (didn't think I was going forget about that, did ya?)

While I would like to see the Cowboys maintain the TD's and get that ypc number back above 5, I'm comfortable with this bunch. The talent is there, and Gundy has hinted at lining up Tyreek Hill occasionally in the backfield, so I'm confident OSU will find their way.

GO POKES!!!

OKLAHOMA STATE SPRING FOOTBALL POSITION REVIEW:

Offensive Line
Defensive Line
WR & TE
CB & Safety

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