Last season the Huskies enjoyed a lot of depth had at running back; a unit that was plagued by injuries for several seasons saw no players miss action in 2013. In fact, because of this depth a couple of players were able to switch to other positions which suited their skills, and the Huskies’ needs, better. One such player is Lance Bashutsky who moved to cornerback during the season (we will update Lance’s progress as a DB when we have a chance to speak with his position coaches). Depth at RB appears to be apparent again this year, as Coach Dan Houle commented following Friday evening’s practice. “We’ve had a really good recruiting class with the backs, getting Tyler Chow and Kayden Johnson,” Houle noted. Chow, from Calgary, really impressed observers in “A drill” during the first practice of spring camp. “Chow is a very physical, low runner; Johnson is a speed/cut guy – he’s going to learn to run low. I think they’re both going to be great running backs for us.”
“It’s almost overwhelming, the difference between high school football and CIS football,” Tyler Chow told Huskie Outsider. “I feel like I’m able to compete. I got some experience playing with older guys when I was in Texas playing for Canada’s U18 team.”
“It’s a great experience,” Kayden Johnson, from Outlook, stated at the midway point of camp. “There’s lots to learn and I’m doing my best to pick things up. I’m trying to learn to play at the same pace and level as the veterans.” Johnson has one area, in particular, that he’s focusing on. “Because I’m such a tall guy I have to work on staying low when I’m going through the line.”
The returning tailbacks are Jarvis James, who presumably enters camp as the Dogs’ feature back, and Shane Buchanan, Jeremy Andrew, Drew Bexson, and Zac Newman. “They’re competitive guys, which is good,” Coach Houle said of his returning veterans. “The friendly competition makes them better; they’re all close right now so we really haven’t figured out who fits in where on the depth chart – we’re leaving that up to them during practice on Saturday and during the scrimmage on Sunday. They’re good; they all hit the gym, trained hard, and they seem to be a really tight group of guys, which is nice.”
Former Hilltop, Andre Lalonde and Zach Krebs, from Hamilton, could also potentially add to the Huskies’ depth in the backfield. Lalonde is looking to earn a spot with the Roughriders this fall, while the Huskie coaches want to use camp to determine at what position Krebs best fits in. “We’re still evaluating him right now,” Houle commented about Krebs, a rare Ontario recruit for the Dogs. “He seems to be a really good athlete, so we’re actually going to try him at linebacker tomorrow and see how he does there. He came to us as a running back, but he played both positions in high school, and being such a good athlete this won’t be much of a stretch for him.”
The Huskies haven’t enjoyed a dominating ground attack for a few seasons now; getting this unit going will go a long way towards helping the Dogs to a successful 2014 season.