USF Football Preview: Running Backs
Two seniors will anchor the Bulls back field, including the starter, Demetris Murray. Murray hasnt been his teams primary ball carrier since high school, but this has only excited Murray for the chance to contribute greatly to USFs offense.
"I think I've really matured from last year to this year, really tried to understand more of the smaller things in the offense, every aspect of the offense rather than just one or two, Murray said.
In each of his two last seasons, Murray has rushed for over 500 yards, making him the most experienced ballcarrier coming into the 2012 season for the Bulls. Last season, Murray led USF with eight rushing touchdowns.
The departure of last years starting running back, Darrell Scott (who left his junior year to enter the 2011 NFL Draft) opened the door for Murray to step into a larger role on the team.
Murrays focus isnt only on him. He also believes his role as a senior will be important to mentoring the younger players, the other backs like Marcus Shaw, Bradley Battles and Juco transfer Mike Pierre. Murray believes his leadership can help the backs on and off the field, something that could put the team over the top.
"It seems like this offseason was a lot more important to guys than it was in previous years," Murray said. "When you have seniors, you have maturity and guys who have been in the fire. ... Of course you want to go out with a bang. Who doesn't their senior year?But we're going to take it one day at a time and focus on the task at hand."
Dont forget the other aforementioned senior running back, Lindsey Lamar. Lamar was converted into a running back from a receiver after last season, shortly after taking the 60 meter indoor title at the Big East championships. The conversion happened just in time for spring practices.
Lamar will be backing up Murray in the back field, but look for Lamar to have one of his best seasons at USF. He will also serve as the go to punt returner and kickoff returner. These multiple roles prove Lamars versatility on the field.
Lamar also improved his weight in the off season, going from 164 lbs to 182 lbs, another factor that could help improve his ability and speed in the backfield.
At 5 foot 9 164, Lamar was not the ideal size of a running back. He worked with strength and conditioning coaches to bulk up to the size he is at today.
He wasnt the only one who changed his weight in the offseason. Murray also had a weight change, but in this case, shed some pounds.
The combination of Murray and Lamar could prove to be one of USFs top weapons on offense,however, the wide receiver give them some competition.
A complete breakdown of Bulls' tight-ends and wide receivers will be released next week in a two part article.