September 9, 2007
Johnson revs up Wildcats' run game
If James Johnson isn't Kansas State's lead running back, it definitely didn't seem that way Saturday night, as the senior racked up 111 yards on 15 carries in a 34-14 win over San Jose State. While Johnson was piling up statistics, however, fellow running back Leon Patton was pushed into the periphery.
Patton carried the ball just six times for 21 yards in K-State's game against the Spartans, and the discrepancy in the players' rushing attempts has led some to believe the two-headed monster the Wildcats showcased at the position in 2006 has now become a one-man show.
Kansas State head coach Ron Prince sees things differently as he insists the tandem will still see equal playing time this season. Prince made it clear Saturday, that the team will feature whichever back is "hot" at the time, and judging by Saturday's numbers, it's safe to assume Johnson has been the warmer of the two as of late.
"We've always tried to play two running backs in the game," he said. "Sometimes the style of the defense, and the style of how we are trying to play lends itself to favor one player or another. A player may have a hot hand, or seem to be in a rhythm, so you try to feature him, or feed him the ball."
Though Johnson, who rushed for 403 yards last season, says he and Patton are "a team", he probably won't mind if he is indeed named the team's leader.
"I hope so," Johnson said when asked if he was going to continue to receive the majority of the team's carries. "If that doesn't happen, I wont have a problem with it though. Leon and I aren't selfish."
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