Most of the news from Wednesday’s practice was contained in the notes, which were up on the previous blog. A few things that didn’t make it…
1. B-back Charles Perkins is starting to turn on the jets. David Sims churning up the waters in the B-back competition has brought out the best in Perkins, which is exactly what coach Paul Johnson wanted.
“I think he’s just playing harder, running harder, hustling around, doing those things, trying to match David’s effort,” Johnson said of Perkins. “Charles is a talented kid. If he wants to go hard, he can look pretty good.”
2. Johnson’s said he didn’t know much about the mess in Miami, but said he felt badly for Hurricanes coach Al Golden.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s disappointing. I’m sure he had no idea.”
3. The team sounds ready for the season.
“You always worry about things you haven’t covered (in camp), but you also need .an opponent,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long time. They’ve been out four weeks in the spring and now two weeks of camp beating on each other. I think they’re ready to have somebody else to shoot at.”
4. Some stuff from Sims that I couldn’t include in my B-backs story.
On if he does have good balance, as trumpeted by inside linebacker Julian Burnett:
“I think so, because I have a low center of gravity. I do have some type of leg strength, a little bit. It helps me break those tackles that maybe a smaller back can’t. It helps and also the mindset that I feel like no one man should ever tackle me. That’s how I feel. That’s what we always, in practice, tell each other: No one tackler ever brings you down.”
How he came to switch positions:
“It was actually the second day of bowl practice last year. [Johnson] called me and he suggested a position change. … I talk to my mom, I thought about it, it made sense if that was the best chance I had to get on the field. Sitting on the bench for two years, I was willing to take it.”
On when he felt comfortable at B-back:
“I think maybe two practices before the scrimmage, I think I started reeling off a couple good runs and I was doing it without hesitating or thinking. In the spring, I was always thinking. I would break a couple of tackles and a couple of runs, but I was still thinking at the same time. [Johnson] said, ‘Just hit it’ and that’s what I’m doing.”
Sims sounds like he has the right attitude for the position and I gather that he’s gained maturity and practicing a lot harder than he used to. I imagine coaches are loving what this is doing for the B-back competition.
5. I dug this up a few weeks before camp began about how different Navy teams divided up carries. At Tech, the B-back has gotten most of the carries and yards, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ll preface this by saying I don’t know to what degree injuries played a role in the proportion of the carries.
In Johnson’s six years at Navy, the B-back led the team in yardage four times. The other two years, it was the quarterback. (In 2005, it was Tech A-backs coach Lamar Owens, who ran 213 times for 880 yards with 11 touchdowns.)
2002: Leading rusher: quarterback Craig Candeto, 177-775 yards. B-backs: Kyle Eckel, 144-510, Michael Brimage 39-391, Bryce McDonald, 47-292
2003: Leading rusher: B-back Kyle Eckel, 236-1249. Second: quarterback Craig Candeto, 271-1249
2004: Leading rusher: B-back Kyle Eckel, 235-1147. Second: quarterback Aaron Polanco, 246-980
2005: Leading rusher: Quarterback Lamar Owens, 213-880. B-backs: Adam Ballard, 109-668; Matt Hall, 99-493)
2006: Leading rusher: B-back Adam Ballard, 154-792. Second: A-back Reggie Campbell, 99-706. Other B-backs: Matt Hall, 45-229; Eric Kettani, 53-229
2007: Leading rusher: B-back Eric Kettani, 152-880; Second: Quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, 180-834. Other B-backs: Adam Ballard, 141-665.
Conclusions: While in some years, it appears one B-back got more carries for one part of the season and another got more later whether due to injury or other reasons, Johnson has no problem splitting the B-back position between two players and, at the least, doesn’t feel compelled to ride one horse the way he did Jonathan Dwyer or Anthony Allen. From a cursory look, it appears 2007 was the best example of this, when Kettani and Ballard both played each game. Some games, Kettani got more carries and Ballard got more in others. You can look it up here.
By Ken Sugiura, AJC