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Thursday, July 29, 2010
Could Tech get back to 1,000-yard rusher?

By Jeff Caplan

Two players who could stand to gain the most from new coach Tommy Tuberville are running backs Baron Batch and Eric Stephens. Tuberville plans to keep an explosive passing game, but he's also promising greater emphasis on the ground game.

It could pave the way for the first 1,000-yard rusher at Tech since Ricky Williams churned out 1,582 yards in 1998.

"We've got two running backs that can play. We've got Eric Stephens and Baron Batch. We're going to use those guys. Might be on screens. Might be draw plays," Tuberville said. 'We're going to have some plays that are drawn up where we're going to be more physical. We'll take some snaps underneath the center, but we have to get those guys involved to run play action, to keep [defenses] off the quarterback."

Batch came close to the 1,000-yard mark last season, finishing 884 yards on 168 carries (5.3 average) with 14 touchdowns in 13 games. Two other backs have come close with Shannon Woods' 926 yards in 2006 as the high-water mark during the Mike Leach era. Taurean Henderson reached 872 yards in 2005 and 840 yards in 2004.

Byron Hanspard put up 1,374 yards in 1995 and followed the next season with 2,000 yards in just 10 games.