Running back evaluation is pretty tricky. It is for me at least, the driver of the Kyle Porter bandwagon. I believe Dana Holgorsen is about to steer us into a casino for a “pit stop” and that will likely be the end of our journey. The top prospects tend to have outstanding measurables in terms of 40 times or track times, but if you’re playing RB at all you’re probably a great athlete.
Re-watching the spring game I was getting a vague sense of deja vu that I finally sorted out as I reviewed the notes. It was like watching one of those old Red River Shootouts where Bob Stoops and Brent Venables had the Texas playbook and tendencies on lockdown and everyone on the defense looked like all-world athletes as they flew around the field. In this game that was less a result of juxtaposing an athletic and well prepared defense with a startled offensive staff and more the result of a scrimmage setting where the offense was vanilla and didn’t play to their strengths.
Actually the white team won, which included the no. 1 defense, which is the reason they won. For the defense to perform like this was probably the most encouraging thing that could have happened. You're nuts if you're worried about this offense after they struggled in a exhibition/scrimmage setting playing against a 30 mph wind. Oklahoma looked similarly shaky a year ago in a similar setting and then had the most explosive offense in college football history.
Tom Herman’s spring games at Texas have followed a particular trend over the last two years. They are vanilla, don’t include much of the run game, and tend to consist of the various teams throwing the ball against each other in the base offensive concepts. Of course Texas is a run-centric team heading into 2019 with a pair of young RBs getting all the attention, but Herman’s goal for the spring game clearly isn’t geared around trying to beat Texas or encouraging a physical fight that only has downsides.
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has a nice slogan for the process his teams use to develop their identity for the coming season. He picked it up from his early days at Mount Union under Larry Kehres, who built the Purple Raiders into a program that won 11 DIII national championships over 26 seasons before handing it off to his son Vince who’s gone 84-5 while adding two more championship banners.