A closer look at the running backs
In 2011, the Chippewas seemed to shore up the power game with bruising Junior Zurlon Tipton and promising young Sophmore, Anthony Garland. Both backs averaged about 4.8 yards per carry and did the majority of their damage between the tackles. This is an important piece at any level, but where will the outside finesse game come from?
The Chippewas lost a key piece to the outside attack when Paris Cotton graduated. Cotton proved to be a reliable 3rd down and change of pace back for the Chippewas. He racked up 425 yards on just 62 carries for a lofty 6.85 yards per carry. Beyond his pile of stats, the Chippewas lose a quality person and hard working practice player—something that seems hard to find in modern day football. All of this leaves a huge hole to fill in the 2012 rushing attack.
The position looked to be filled by Austin White but if you’ve read the papers lately, White was arrested once during “Mushroom Gate”, kicked off the team and promptly arrested again for burglary in Livonia. Needless to say, White will not be running the ball in Mt. Pleasant.
Tim Phillips seems to be the early favorite for the 3rd down carries and receptions. Phillips is a Junior from the LeFevour era. He played all of 2009 as a freshman but broke his leg during work outs in 2010 and missed the entire season. Phillips was stuck behind the 3 backs listed above in 2011 but had a promising 235 yards on 54 carries—4.35 yards per carry.
Another candidate is first year player, Martez Walker. Most are expecting Walker to red shirt but I have a feeling they will not be able to save this play maker for 2013 once the coaches see what he can do at full speed.
In this all important year for Dan Enos and company, no chances will be taken with the run game. Expect everyone to get a shot to run the ball until a reliable 3rd down back emerges.