Monday, June 2, 2014
Three hope to end to rushing droughts
By Andrea Adelson
Florida State and Virginia snapped long droughts between 1,000-yard running backs this past season. That leaves three ACC teams hoping to do the same in 2014: NC State, Duke and Wake Forest.
The Wolfpack have not had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2002, giving them the longest current drought in the ACC. Duke is next, followed by the Deacs. So what are the chances somebody breaks through and gets to 1,000?
I am going to say slim. Here is my explanation why, for all three schools:
Duke: The Blue Devils have employed a running-back-by-committee approach and that is not likely to change this season with Josh Snead and Shaquille Powell returning. Quarterback Anthony Boone will get his share of carries as well. Now watch for Thomas Sirk, who is projected to move into the role Brandon Connette held over the last several seasons. Connette, the backup quarterback, had 337 yards rushing last season. He and Boone combined for 551 yards.
Last 1,000-yard rusher: Chris Douglas, 2003.
NC State: For the running game to be improved from a year ago, the offensive line has to stay healthy for the entire season because there is no depth. Staying healthy is not something this line has been able to do over the last several years. Shadrach Thornton is back, but depth still has to be developed behind him. Also, look for quarterback Jacoby Brissett to take carries and yards now that he is the starter. Shaky offensive line, mobile quarterback and running back questions do not equal a 1,000-yard back.
Last 1,000-yard rusher: T.A. McLendon, 2002.
Wake Forest: The Deacs have been among the worst teams in the country running the ball the last few years and were down to two scholarship backs at the position this spring, after moving Orville Reynolds over from receiver. Plus, the offensive line remains a work in progress. Between these three schools, Wake Forest is in the worst position to try and get a 1,000-yard rusher this year.
Last 1,000-yard rusher: Chris Barclay, 2005.