Unit Analysis: Running backs and fullbacks

Posted: August 2, 2013 in Football

After having a quarterback lead the team in rushing for the last few years, USF fans should see a running back take over that role in 2013.  It’s been years since a running back has carried the workload for the Bulls (Andre Hall anyone), will this be the year a running back goes breaks the elusive 1000 yard mark?

Here is the 2012 roster and what they did last season:

Bradley Battles – 5’9″ 209 lbs. – Junior – 2 carries, 2 yards.  1 reception, 20 yards

Willie Davis – 5’9″ 205 lbs. – Redshirt sophomore – 2 carries, 7 yards

Lindsey Lamar – 5’9″ 180 lbs. – 66 carries, 475 yards, 3 touchdowns.  12 receptions, 156 yards, 3 touchdowns

Demetris Murray – 6′ 215 lbs. – Senior – 170 carries, 700 yards, 6 touchdowns.  20 receptions, 134 yards.

Kyle Peck – 5’8″ 180 lbs. – Junior – No stats recorded

Mike Pierre – 5’10” 206 lbs. – Junior – No stats recorded, redshirted.

Marcus Shaw – 5’9″ 189 lbs. – Junior – 51 carries, 252 yards.  8 receptions, 34 yards.

Grant White – 5’11” 243 lbs. – Sophomore – No stats recorded

Fullbacks

Chris Breit – 5’11” 229 lbs. – Senior – No stats recorded

Spencer Cavalieri – 6’2″ 239 lbs. – Senior – No stats recorded

Tye Turner – 6’3″ 249 lbs. – Sophomore – No stats recorded

These are the players that left after the end of the season:

Bradley Battles – Transfer

Lindsey Lamar – Graduated, CFL

Demetris Murray – Graduated

Chris Breit – Graduated

Spencer Cavalieri – Graduated

Tye Turner – Moved to tight end

Here is the incoming 2013 class: 

Sta’fon McCray – 511″ 212 lbs. – 3-stars

Darius Tice – 5’10” 198 lbs. – 3-stars

Auggie Sanchez – 6’2″ 233 lbs. – 2-stars

Kennard Swanson – 6′ 245 lbs. – 3-stars

Here is the depth chart entering 2013 (not listing recruits):

Willie Davis – 5’9″ 213 lbs. – Redshirt sophomore

Kyle Peck – 5’8″ 183 lbs. – Senior

Mike Pierre – 5’10” 202 lbs. – Redshirt junior

Marcus Shaw – 5’9″ 178 lbs. – Senior

Fullbacks

Ryan Eppes – 6’1″ 236 lbs. – Senior – Moved here from linebacker

Timothy Finklea – 6′ 227 lbs. – Junior

Elliot Jacobs – 5’11” 209 lbs. – Freshman

Grant White – 5’11” 239 lbs. – Junior – Moved from running back

After watching the spring game, it was clear that the Bulls have a lot of questions at running back this season.  The Bulls lost there top 3 rushers, including Daniels, along with Lamar and Murray.  The top returning back for the Bulls with any big experience is Marcus Shaw who has limited carries during his time in Tampa.  Shaw, aka Squirrel, has a lot of speed and quick feet, but he is not a big back and probably can’t carry the workload.  Mike Pierre, who took a redshirt last year, has more size, but we don’t know know what we are getting with him.  Willie Davis disappeared after just two carries last year and hasn’t been mentioned much by the coaches so far.

The Bulls lost out on transfer Michael Dyer, so they are entering 2013 with what they have on the current roster.  Many believe Marcus Shaw is the man to win the job coming out of the fall, but with his smaller size, he is not the ideal back to carry the load 20+ times a game.  Pierre appears to be the guy behind him that could split the carries, but two incoming freshmen could battle them for snaps.  The two freshmen, McCray and Tice, are both talented and tough backs that are expected to battle for the job.  While there probably won’t be a workhorse back, I would imagine at least 3 backs will rise to the occasion this fall.  I would say, Shaw, Pierre, and maybe Tice, could be the big three going forward (McCray is a guy to watch though).

The Bulls hardly used their fullbacks last season, but this year with a more run-oriented system with the running backs, the fullbacks should see some action.  Kennard Swanson, considered the number two FB in the country from the 2013 recruiting class, should be a big time run blocker for the Bulls (remember Richard Kelly?)  Auggie Sanchez, who is a halfback/tight end/fullback will probably be lined up at times in the backfield and could see passes or runs coming his way.

Overall unit grad: C –

Another low grade, but its needed.  Shaw hasn’t done a lot over his career (didn’t end the season on a high note either), we don’t know what Pierre is fully capable of, and Davis is just not the answer for the workload.  What will Tice and McCray do and is Swanson ready to start?  The fall will help answer these questions, but at the moment, the backfield is a little shaky.  I could see this position easily end up as a B+ but time will tell.

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Comments
  1. CO Bull says:

    Think a C- is generous here based on previous years production. Can’t wait for the QB grade…a big F

  2. mstaton says:

    I think there is some talent at running back. Shaw and Pierre will be solid enough and the freshmen will probably factor in as well. It will all depend on how well the offensive line comes together and how quick the backs pick up on the offense. Quarterbacks come out on Monday and you are fairly close.

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