POSITION BREAKDOWN: RUNNING BACKS
Aug. 29, 2012
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Tulsa returns 2,105 rushing yards with four players returning to the offensive backfield for the Golden Hurricane.
"I think we're in good shape at the running back position," said Head Coach Bill Blankenship.
Ja'Terian Douglas rushed for a team-best 883 yards, four TDs and a 7.9 average per carry as a sophomore last year. Fellow junior Trey Watts gained 881 yards, three touchdowns and a 5.6 average per attempt. Senior Alex Singleton rushed for 279 yards and a team-best eight TDs. Senior H-back Willie Carter led Tulsa in receiving last year as a junior with 868 yards and seven touchdowns and also rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
"It's always good to have a bunch of running backs in the stable. We have experience. J.T. and Trey compliment each other. They're different style of runners, but they really compliment each other. Trey has the ability to make you miss and JT has the speed that anytime he can go the distance, then you come in with two power-backs in Alex Singleton and Zach Langer. Alex is a 250-pound bruiser that runs downhill and when he's healthy he's hard to stop. He's always leaning forward and that's good to have especially for short-yardage situations. Zach is really beginning to come into his own and he's a really strong kid as well," said Running Backs Coach Dan Bitson.
"Then you move out to the three-man where you have Willie Carter with a great deal of experience and behind him we're bringing along a freshman (Michael Sorrells) who's probably more athletic than any of them. It's good to have a lot of depth when you take a lot of hits in a 12 to 13-game season," added Bitson.
"The running back position has evolved like we thought it would," added Blankenship. "You have the known commodities in Trey (Watts) and JT (Douglas) and I think they have both improved their game from a year ago. They're more rounded players. The guy that had a good fall camp early on was Zack Langer. He's been a little dinged up lately, but I think he'll be ready for the Iowa State game, and the same with Alex (Singleton). Alex has had probably his best summer and best early part of fall camp."
Carter, who missed Tulsa's Armed Forces Bowl game last year with an injury suffered two days before the contest, returns as the starting H-back and freshman gray-shirt Michael Sorrells will provide solid depth.
"We love Michael Sorrells behind Willie at the H-back spot. He's going to give us some really exciting depth there from a big athlete. We always leave Willie out of the mix when we talk about running backs, but he'll be effective for us carrying and receiving the ball from his H-back spot," said Blankenship.
"What's been fun to see is the evolution of the running backs. J.T. has been tagged as the speed threat and outside runner, but he's become a good inside runner. Trey Watts has been more of the receiver/slasher type and yet he's shown flashes of great speed during camp. It's been really good to see Alex become a much better pass protector. So we're seeing them develop into more of the whole package than we have before," added Blankenship.
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