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Season Preview: Running Back

Finally, we are about to finish these season previews. First, runningback and later on tonight the quarterback. Let's get it going...

Last Season
Last season's team, much less the running game, was about one man. Jon Cornish. However, Cornish is now playing in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders. However, Cornish's season of 250 carries, 1457 yards and 8 TD's. That comes out to an average of 121.8 yards a game (!!) and averaged 5.8 yards every single time the ball was handed off. He also caught 24 passes out of the backfield, as he was the first, second and third option for our offense last season. Quite a feat considering he walked-on to Kansas, I just hope that our new group of runningbacks can produce as much as Cornish did. Cornish's monster year gave us the 19th best rushing offense in Divison 1, a very impressive ranking. Before this turns into a Cornish memorial thread, we did have some other people carry the ball last season. Last season's backup, this season's starter true sophomore Jake Sharp carried the ball 21 times for 129 yards. That comes out to a nice little 6.1 yards a carry, something that would be wonderful to carry over to this season. Redshirt senior Brandon McAnderson, a Lawrence native, started at fullback last year and will do the same this year. However, with no Jon Cornish behind him in the backfield he figures to carry it more than 31 times. That comes out to about 2.5 carries a game, something that will most likley come out to around 10 a pop this season.

Returning Players
Both Sharp and McAnderson are returning for more, and they will share the brunt of the load this season, but we are also bringing back Angus Quigley, an ultra-athletic recruit out of Texas yet to see collegiate action. Quigley's is an interesting story, because while he signed on with the Jayhawks in time for the 2005 football season, he redshirted that season. Then, while gearing up to backup the trio of Cornish, Sharp and McAnderson last season he injured his thigh, forcing him to miss last season. Now, he is back and while not playing an insorbiant amount, will probably see the ball a copule of times throughout the year. I would guess an average of about a 3 to 7 touches a game, depending on how well others around him play. Redshirt junior Sam Archer figures to be the backup fullback to McAnderson.

Incoming Players
The running back corps is getting some help from the recruiting class, with three new freshman coming in. Both Brian Murphy, the twin brother of fellow Jayhawk recruit Ryan Murphy, and Steven Foster figure to see little (if any) PT this season, with that likely being on special teams. However, the cream of the crop of the running back recruits would be Carmon Boyd-Anderson of Jacksonville, Texas. I am really high on this kid, he will be fighting with Quigley for the third RB slot, but they will both see the ball at times throughout the season. Even with McAnderson graduating after this year, we have plenty of young talent at the runningback position that should continue to get better and better. While it would probably be too much to ask for any of them to produce like Jon Cornish, I would expect the trio (lead by Sharp) to exceed his production over the next couple of years.

2007 Running Back Depth Chart
1) Jake Sharp, Soph.*
2) Angus Quigley, RS Soph.
3) Carmon Boyd-Anderson, Fresh.
4) Donte Bean, RS Fresh.

2007 Fullback Depth Chart
1) Brandon McAnderson, RS Sr.*
2) Sam Archer, RS Soph.

2008 Running Back Depth Chart
1) Jake Sharp, Jr.*
2) Angus Quigley, RS Jr.
3) Carmon Boyd-Anderson, Soph.
4) Donte Bean, RS Soph.

2008 Fullback Depth Chart
1) Sam Archer, RS Jr.*
2) Steven Foster, Soph.

Next Up: Quarterback (today or tomorrow)