Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fresno State of Affairs: Running Backs

It's never too soon to look ahead to next year -- especially when us Bulldog Bouncers are always thinking years in advance when it comes to Fresno State football. So we'll examine each position, whether fans can expect an improvement or a drop off next year and touch on the up and comers. As always, we encourage your opinions as well.

Key Losses: Ryan Mathews, Lonyae Miller, Anthony Hardng, Jamaal Rashad
Fresno State of Affairs 2010: Large drop off

Not to say there will be a lack of talent in the 2010 Fresno State backfield -- that's almost never the case with the Bulldogs running attack -- but any time a team loses a player of Ryan Mathews, there's going to be a drop off. Mathews declared a year early for the NFL Draft after rushing for a school single-season record 1,808 yards (6.6 per carry) and 19 touchdowns (nation-best 150.7 yards per game). Couple that with the departure of Lonyae Miller and Anthony Harding and the Bulldogs lose 6,766 career yards and 70 touchdowns.

The most experienced back attempting to replace that prolific trio will be sophomore Robbie Rouse (5-7, 185), a strong, quick, elusive back who used his lack of height as a leverage advantage on his way to 479 yards and 4 touchdowns as a true freshman (5.8 yards per carry). Though he's by far the most seasoned returnee, some still question whether Rouse can carry the workload, or if he's better suited to be a change-of-pace guy. Rouse will be pushed for starting duties by sophomores Mike Harris (5-11, 200) and A.J. Ellis (5-11, 180).

Harris is likely to give the biggest push, as he fits the featured back mold more than the slimmer, shifty Ellis, who was recruited two years ago with thoughts of replacing Clifton Smith (Buccaneers). Both redshirted their first year in the program, but Harris shined in last year's Spring Game, breaking off the day's biggest run. Harris had 12 carries for 26 yards this season, while Ellis had 2 carries for 7 yards. Both are sure to see a big increase in workload this year. Harris appeared to have jumped past Ellis on the depth chart this past fall, but Ellis will get plenty of chances to prove himself.

If you're looking for excuses to go out to spring practice and fall camp in the coming months, watching the competition between those three will be fascinating. During the fall, look out for two incoming freshmen who have already given verbal commitments to join the Bulldogs next year, in Leslie Rogers (6-1, 180) out of Point Loma Senior High-San Diego (video) and Emery Schexnayder (5-11, 210) of North High-Riverside. Both look to have a high ceiling on high school film, with Rogers displaying a running style similar to Mathews' hit-the-hole-and-go mentality and Schexnayder showing an even more physical style with size similar to Miller's.


  1. Fresno State always has good backs. So it will not surprising if one of them steps up to be the next lonyae or harding,become the next mathews probably not. As far as quarter backs, Feathers should be a running back, Carr should redshirt next season and Coulburn should start,

  2. Hi guys, I really enjoyed this information about Fresno State of Affairs: Running Backs, is very interesting, I would like get more updates about this


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