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August 10, 2005

Backfield Monday part 2: Running backs

Ok, in part one of "Backfield Wednesday" I broke down the MSU passing attack as I see it. In part two I will shift gears and delve into the ground attack, discussing the Bulldog Fullbacks and Running Backs. Everyone in the country knows that Jerious Norwood is the star running back, but how hard is he being pushed by his teammates?

While J-Rock's teammates are pushing hard to get better, there is a big difference between No. 1 and the rest of the pack. The Bulldog running backs will look to be dual threats coming out of the backfield this fall. In a typical WCO running backs are expected to not only run the ball but catch the ball out of the backfield and occasionally out of the slot position. This year fans can expect to see a more versatile running attack from the Bulldogs.

Running Backs:

1. Jerious Norwood - better known as J-Rock, will be first team All-SEC this season. This man is incredible! I cannot describe to you how hard Norwood has worked in the off-season. The pictures you have seen only tell part of the story. Norwood is committed to going out a winner…period! Norwood has become bigger, stronger and more intelligent and it is evident by his progress in practice. MSU has a suspect offensive line and this will force Norwood to create a lot of his own yards. He will be up to the task..

3. Brandon Thornton - is a quiet guy that goes about his business on the field. He is not flashy, but he gets the job done. The one thing Thornton will need to improve on is lowering his head and hitting the defender. When running between the tackles Thornton tends to take the hit instead of running through the would-be defender. Thornton will be a solid backup to Norwood.

3. Jonathan Lowe - was a special-teams threat last season and that will not change. However, he is getting a good look at running back due to his speed and ability to hold on to the football. Lowe will offer a change of pace in the backfield, a back that has speed and quickness. Lowe is very elusive and has good hands catching the ball out of the backfield. The staff feels good about his progress so I would expect to see Lowe get in on the action this fall.

Kentrel Brooks - has not been getting as much work at RB as some of the other guys. However he has seen some action on the punt return unit. Brooks is quick and has good size for his 5-foot-7 frame. Brooks is still young and will see action as a RB at some point, but this may not be his season.

Demarcus Johnson - Like Brooks, Johnson is a redshirt freshman that is biding his time to get onto the playing field. It is hard to get a feel for his ability because hasn't had a great deal of work with the first or second teams.

Derek Ambrose - will also serve in a reserve role this fall. Due to Ambrose being a senior who doesn't really stand out in the group of RBs, he will likely not see playing time this fall. If he had better than average skills he would see the field, but in my opinion the staff can not afford to invest time to develop Ambrose into a player this season when the time is best served developing a younger back..

Fullback:

1. Bryson Davis - is certainly one guy who is not afraid to deliver a BIG hit. Davis will be a vital part of the offense this season. With a weak offensive line, Davis' blocks will be crucial to the success of the Bulldog running attack. You will also see Davis carry and catch the ball more this season, in order to help take the load off the shoulders of Norwood. I promise you, at 6-foot-1 and 264 pounds Bryson Davis can open a big hole in an offensive line.

2. Brandon Hart - is a freshman on the rise. Coach Croom has been signing praises since the first day of practice for Hart. Hart stands 6-foot-0 and carries 245 pounds and will certainly hit the line hard. On numerous occasions he has knocked a LB off his feet making a hole for the Bulldog backs. While Hart is not a first teamer yet, he is not far behind.

Casey Rodgers - has more heart and desire than anyone. As mentioned in the spring he was the first Bulldog to earn their number in spring practice, which speaks volumes. Casey is a little raw with his talent. He is still learning the fundamentals of playing fullback at the SEC level, but make no mistake about it, he is a competitor and will have an impact on this year's team.

Dezmond Sherrod - is Coach Croom's "Utility Guy". Sherrod can play running back, full back or tight end, and play them all very effectively. Sherrod has been sidelined with a hip flexor thus far in fall camp, but when he returns to full action next week you can bet he will make some noise.

So, that's a look at the MSU ground attack on "Backfield Wednesday." As you can tell the Bulldogs have several talented players involved in the running game, and it is up to them to continue to get better everyday. It is up to BulldogBlitz.com to make sure your kept up to speed on their progress.

***This is the kind of complete coverage BulldogBlitz.com subscribers receive on a daily basis. GIVE BULLDOGBLITZ.COM A TRY: Click here to take advantage of BulldogBlitz.com's 7-Day Free Trial and get all the INSIDE SCOOP on Mississippi State's football, basketball, baseball and recruiting from our staff of experts Andy Kalinowski, Michael Wardlaw, Ross Dellenger, and Rob Haralson.


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