With a big, powerful and fast group, this is the main
reason the Mountaineers are in most preseason top 10’s.
Even with the unexpected losses of Pernell Williams and
WVU’s most highly touted recruit Jason Gwaltney,
the unit just plugs in more names. Well-built Jason Colson
is likely returning to the backfield (a slot guy much
of ’05), but they are good enough that the senior
is a back up to emerging sophomore speedster Steve Slaton.
Massive junior Owen Schmidt is the secret weapon after
leading the team’s returning RBs in per carry average,
and the fact that he lost no yards on 48 attempts means
bankable gains every time he carries the rock. The crushed
facemask of a defender Owen ran over sits on coach Rodriguez’
desk as a souvenir. We could go on and on (they go even
deeper). Add the dimension of sophomore QB Pat White as
a ball-carrier to know why they only passed 114 times
compared to 625 rushes last year. Opponents know they
are going to run, and still they will be unstoppable.
Antonio Pittman is a proven commodity who hasn’t
even reached his potential…yet. Look for dual-threat
QB phenom Troy Smith, as well as their creative sets
that bring Ted Ginn’s feet into play, to further
distract defenses for optimal effect. Smith is the best
duel threat QB for 2006. Look for five-star prospect
Chris Wells to get reps early and often, for this prep
all-American is assuredly the future in Columbus. With
Stan White bulldozing holes for all, the Buckeyes will
continue to run it more than 60% of the time to wear
down defenses for win after win.
Kenny Irons leads a pack of Tigers, each who could be
their top runner if given the chance. But it is Irons
who took over last season with seven games left to lead
the SEC in rushing, quite a statement in I-A’s
toughest conference. Brad Lester and Carl Stewart offer
contrasting styles that keep opponents off balance.
Auburn runs right at you, daring even the best front
sevens to stop them. In this classic offense where the
run keeps defenses honest to set up the pass, we cannot
ignore how far the Tiger’s senior interior up
front will take them.
Robert Merrill came back for his senior campaign, catapulting
the deep Horned Frog’s RB unit into a top five
group. Whereas this San Antonio-native and classmate
Lonta Hobbs have ample girth to run between the tackles,
Aaron Brown sveltely takes corners to earn his all-conference
status. The play-calls by coach Patterson make it seem
easy for TCU to rule this conference, and it’s
from the ground up that they hop over opponents.
All-American Michael Bush, who could have had a job
on Sundays, gives the Redbirds confidence that their
deep group can carry them to new heights. Including
George Stripling and fellow-senior Kolby Smith, UL has
their top three grinders from 2005 returning. FB bowling
ball Deriontae Taylor just decimates would-be tacklers.
Brohm’s arm has to be respected, so LBs are kept
flat-footed as this balanced backfield trio rotates
the right guy in for maximum impact, as needed.
Arkansas, California, Oklahoma,