FLOWERY BRANCH – Running back Dimitri Nance’s final numbers for the Chiefs game weren’t gaudy.
He has seven carries for 6 yards and scored two touchdowns. He caught two passes for 26 yards.
But he sure looked good buzzing around the field and those scoring two touchdowns.
Before everybody gets all excited, you have to remember that he scored those two touchdowns against the Chiefs reserves. The Chiefs starters were ranked 31st against the rush last year.
“It’s good to see young guys that are new in our system, to come out and have some success,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Dimitri has to continue to not only develop on the offensive side, but be has to continue to work on special teams. That’s going to be a key for him in making our roster.”
Nance, an undrafted rookie free agent from Arizona State, is one of two Texas 5A high school players to rush for more than 3,000 yards. The other player is Cincinnati Bengal Cedric Benson. Nance ran for 3,173 yards on 341 carries and scored 41 touchdowns for Euless (Tx.) Trinity High.
He’s a little spark plug back at 5-foot-11, 211 pounds and believes a shoulder injury that caused him to miss three games (Stanford, California and USC) hurt his draft status.
“I thought I had a pretty good senior season and missed about three games,” Nance said. “I think that might have hurt me a little bit. I knew I could get a free agent deal, get into some camp and work hard.”
He played on special teams as a freshman and sophomore for the Sun Devils.
“Now, I’m going to have to play special teams,” Nance said. “I have to get in there and learn it and get as high on the depth chart as I can.”
He is on the punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return units.
Backup running back Jerious Norwood has missed most of camp with a hip flexor. He’s suffered an injury in three of his four seasons and only played in 10 games last year. Norwood (4.4 in the 40-yard dash) is faster than Nance (4.64 in the 40), but perhaps Nance is more durable.
Nance, who’s listed fifth on the depth chart, behind Michael Turner, Norwood, Jason Snelling and Antone Smith, has to still be considered a super longshot to make the team let alone supplant Norwood.
I only asked the question because I wanted to know what you all have to say about the running back situation.
Let commenting begin!
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Monday, August 16 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).
Tuesday, August 17 — Practice 8:30 – 10:55 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:35 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH NEW ENGLAND.
Wednesday, August 18 — Practice 10:15 – 11:35 a.m. (closed to public).
Thursday, August 19 — Preseason Week 2 vs. New England 8 p.m.
Friday, August 20 — No Practice.
Saturday, August 21 — 9:30 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. (closed to the public); 3:45 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).
Sunday, August 22 — 9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (closed to the public)