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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

January 17, 2007 at 10:47 PM

Coach speak, Volume Two

Here’s the second installment of our off-season look at the Huskies, with offensive coordinator Tim Lappano’s assessment of the running back position.
As an FYI, coaches will not comment right now on Michael Houston, who officially remains suspended indefinitely. However, he is reportedly in school and there apparently remains a chance he will return to the team. Also, coaches cannot speak about recruits until they sign letters-of-intent so I did not ask Lappano about any of the five running backs who have committed to the Huskies. If Houston doesn’t return, the Huskies will have just two scholarship running backs for spring practice — Louis Rankin and J.R. Hasty; and two fullbacks — Luke Kravitz and Paul Homer. Kravitz, however, is still recovering from a knee injury that held him out of the last three games of the season.
Question: How do you feel about the depth at the running back position with Kenny James graduating and only Louis Rankin returning of players who have ever had a carry in a game before?
Lappano: Going into this recruiting season it was by far our number one priority with only Louis back and J.R. Hasty fighting to regain his eligibility. We felt that was really a need and you can see that it is a need by what we’ve done there.
Question: What are your thoughts on Rankin?
Lappano: We really like the way he finished up the season. We all know he’s had some moments (of struggling to run the ball inside) but he slammed it in there a little against Washington State. We all know he’s got to bet better at that, but he did against Washington State and maybe that’s when the light went on that he can’t always look for the home run. He just needs to continue to work hard and get stronger. When you look at all of our highlights in the run game this year, he was involved in a lot of them because he’s got that speed.
Question: How is Hasty progressing?
Lappano: So far, J.R. is doing everything that he’s supposed to do. We like what he did during Apple Cup week when we had a scrimmage (involving younger players and those who were sitting out). He’s doing everything that he’s supposed to be doing.
Question: Will Johnie Kirton continue to be used in the backfield?
Lappano: We might have to do that a little bit and he’ll have to play the same role that he did this year. I thought for the most part that he did okay. He might have to rotate a little bit between the tight end spot and running back just to help us out because we’ll have just a couple of guys in the spring.
Question: What about the fullback spot?
Lappano: Luke (Kravitz) is still battling (the knee injury that held him out the last three games of the season). Paul Homer is a young guy we played this year as a true freshman and we love him. He’s 250 pounds right now. He’s a big weight room guy, but you get him out of the weight room and he’s a good football player. He’s got the ability to be a guy who can really move the pack. We’ll get him the ball out of the backfield. He’s got a chance to have a great career here. Luke got a lot of snaps this year, he’s just got to stay healthy. He’s the same type of guy Paul us. They are both 245-250 pound guys who can catch the ball. So there’s a place for those guys in our two-back offense.

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