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Huskie ground game looking to rebound in 2014

Running backs coach Dan Houle runs RB Shane Buchanan through a drill (photo Liam Richards for Electric Umbrella)

The Huskie coaching staff has made it clear that they are looking for improvement in their rushing attack in 2014. Huskie Outsider has already written about the addition of Scott Flory to the coaching staff as it’s run coordinator, and that we’ve seen during team scrimmage periods improved run blocking from the OLine. A few days ago, running backs coach Dan Houle spoke with Huskie Outsider. “It’s coming together,” Houle said of the rushing attack. “The OLine is the main contributor, and our success comes from them.” He gave us his impressions of a few of the running backs’ camp performances (Note: Shane Buchanan, a veteran RB who will certainly see playing time this season, was held out of practice for a few days after being nicked up early in camp. Buchanan returned to practice on Wednesday, but at the time of our talk with Coach Houle he was still sidelined, so we don’t have a camp update on him).

Andre Lalonde: He’s a physical specimen obviously, but he also has a strong grasp of the mental side of the game as well. We can put him in a lot of different spots. He didn’t get any reps during spring camp because he was preparing for the Roughriders’ camp.

Jarvis James: He stayed in Saskatoon over the summer to train, instead of going back home to Calgary. He takes training in the gym very seriously. He’s still fast, but the main thing is that his pass blocking has really come along.

Tyler Chow: He’s a natural in the open field. He needs to keep learning the playbook, and he works hard at that too; he’s always asking the right questions, so you know that he’s paying attention.

Drew Bexson: He came in and tested the best out of our running backs. He’s put in the work and really bought in to the whole weightlifting program with Coach Guebert.

Kayden Johnson: He just gets yards; it might not always look like the prototypical RB carrying the ball, but he gets yards. He’s a natural out in space too, and he’s so fast and he doesn’t lose speed on his cuts. He’s an exciting young prospect.

The team’s Green and White scrimmage goes this afternoon, and Houle was asked how the carries would be divided up. “We want to treat it like a game where we’re in there and it’s live – we have a great opponent coming up in Manitoba, and we want to be ready for them.”

If work schedules permit, Dallas and I hope to be at the scrimmage to provide a summary and/or Outsider Radio podcast in order to discuss how the team performed.

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