Things I Learned About … The Running Backs

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For most of the season, the story of the running game had little to do with the running backs and a lot to do with the offensive line. But there was still much to learn about the backs for this year … and for next.

All running backs look the same without holes to run through. An Al Groh-ism, if there ever was one. And it’s an accurate one, as the 2006 season showed.

Jason Snelling. Cedric Peerman . Mikell Simpson . No, talent at the tailback position was not the issue to start the season. While none of the three may have been a “complete” back in the mold of Wali Lundy (at least, not yet), each of the three brought something to the table. Married with a solid line, the potential for a decent running game was there.

Unfortunately, a solid line was not there to start the season (more to come on that issue in the OL article). That put pressure on a quarterback that was not capable to make plays in a shaky pocket. That brought eight – sometimes nine – into the box. That swamped the line. The result: no holes, and no running game.

Not surprisingly, as the offensive line improved over the course of the season, the running game improved. Sometimes, things are just that simple.

Senior Jason Snelling posted 772 rushing yards and 282 receiving yards this season.

A Lesson In Perseverance. The story is now out. Everybody now knows that Jason Snelling has had to battle epilepsy throughout his UVa career. And battle he did, both off and on the field. The result is a career that should be appreciated and remembered.

I will always remember Snelling’s runs his second year on the field. The UNC game may have been my favorite, as the Tar Heel defenders were just looking