Husky running back Johri Fogerson missed three practices this week with the flu, with no certainty that he will return in time for Saturday’s game against Arizona.
And the domino effect of that could mean the first UW carries for freshman Demitrius Bronson, who has been increasingly working with the main offense during team periods in practices the last few weeks.
UW running backs coach Joel Thomas says Fogerson and Bronson are the first in line for any carries that don’t go to Chris Polk — Fogerson, with three, has gotten the only carries for any of the tailbacks other than Polk since the Idaho game.
But with Fogerson out, Bronson would logically move up to the next spot in the line, and Thomas said this week he’d like to get him in the game Saturday.
“I’ve got to get Demitrius in, quite honestly,” Thomas said. “I’ve got to get him in more. But as consistent as Chris has played, I hate to take him out, and as the games go on it’s like ‘okay, we want to keep him rolling.’ But I also want to get Demitrius in and Johri in so they are comfortable so that if something happens (with Polk) we don’t miss a beat. That’s our whole goal as an offense. So me as a coach, I’ve got to get that thing rolling.”
As you might expect, that’s news that excites Bronson.
“I’m hoping to see a little more action,” said the graduate of Kentwood. “It’s coming. The coaches have to have faith in me.”
Bronson has been in for just one play, at Stanford.
Other than that, he has yet to see the field.
That has surprised some who remember how well Bronson played in the spring and thought he might be a contender for the starting job.
But Bronson says now that a shoulder injury suffered early in fall camp derailed those hopes.
“When that injury occurred, I wasn’t really the same person,” he said. “I was timid running through the holes, stuff like that. Now it’s getting better and the last couple of weeks they took me off the scout team and brought me back to the ones.”
What the coaches like about Bronson is his ability to run between the tackles, and while Bronson wants to be known as a running back who can do it all, he acknowledges that’s his strength right now.
“That’s what I like a lot about my game, but I can do anything anywhere else they want to me, too,” said Bronson, who said he weighs 215 pounds at the moment. “But that definitely is my strength. I like running in between the tackles, running people over. That is a lot of my game, yeah.”
Bronson says the other tailbacks, while understandably wanting to play, have also understood why they haven’t so far — that Polk has played well and the team has had success.
“As long as we are doing it as a team and we are all together and getting a fair shot (in practice), everything is fine,” he said.
As for the prospect of playing this week, he says: “Whenever they get me in there, it’s my job to go do what I need to do and show them that I can perform in a college-type ball game so they trust me that I can do the same as Chris Polk and all the other guys.”