13.Aug.2012 Who Should be the Starting Running Back?

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Cliff is reporting that Terron Ward is getting the most reps, and that Agnew looks good.

My question: would you be comfortable with either of these guys being the starting RB?

Agnew fumbles too much. Ward runs upright, has short strides, and I don't believe has the durability (of a Quizz) to last more than a few games as a featured back. Ward should be a backup, or at the most a 3rd down back.

I've been waiting/hoping for Brown to beat them out, but according to Cliff it sounds like that isn't going to happen. Is Riley making another personnel error, or should we all shut our traps because "coach knows best"?

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  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Someone who can take a lot of punishment and make yardage on their own.

  • ObjCritic says:
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    No surprise Riley is going for experience over physical ability, he’s done it before.

    I don’t Ward or Agnew should be starting. Brown and Woods should share the carries, Agnew should be a back up, Ward could be a KR and backup, Jenkins ST and emergency rb.

    • Sparkyd73 says:
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      I truly doubt that Ward comes out the winner in that battle. I think this is just hype. Cliff has to be more provocative now to get people to pay for his site.

  • HopefulBeav says:
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    Unless Brown is hands down the best, I say redshirt him. No point wasting a year of eligibility if he’s neck and neck with the others. My pick is still Storm Woods. Based off of the spring reports and watching Agnew and Ward last year, he’s the only one that would actually make me optimistic for this upcoming season.

    • Will Overhead says:
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      Horse hockey pucks. Don’t put Brown in the redshirt cupboard for the future. As much as I hate to borrow from Rummy, you gotta play with the guys you’ve got, now. I’d rather have Brown fighting for the spot than kept in reserve for future potential at this point.

      I’ve heard a lot of people over the water cooler talking about what they see at these practices as indicators for next year. F~ck that – how about giving us the best kids playing hard to keep their spots right now. This year. If they are all neck and neck, run’ em, and play the winner, NOW, when we need to start playing winning games.

      To me, carpe diem is about the present day, not some distant future – and a year is too distant to be working on. Especially after the last two.

      • Joe_Avezzano says:
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        If they’re any good, we need to play them now. A redshirt year is just a year where they don’t contribute, meanwhile the odds are increased they will get a coed preggers and declare for the draft early.

  • alex says:
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    Storm Woods looked pretty great in spring. I think his problem (and Ward’s strength) is pass-blocking, which Riley has stated is “the single most important thing we look for in a RB.” But I’d be very happy seeing Woods in that spot….and very concerned with Ward.

    I think Agnew is a great running back, but we can’t make him THE guy, the way that a typical OSU RB is the guy. But, I think a 60-40 carry split with Woods or Brown could work. Just enough that we don’t run his hamstrings into the ground.

    Jenkins could be good as a 3rd down RB, nothing more. Sounds like a lot of the other guys could be just as good though, so might as well give them the reps and workload earlier.

    Ward is apparently a great pass blocker. But he’s mediocre at best at everything else.

  • ncaa_viOlation ncaa_viOlation says:
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    Quizz didnt start his first two games as a freshman, but showed enough during his time on the field to take take over the starting spot. I’m hoping Brown or Woods are able to do the same. I wont be disapointed if Ward or Agnew start the season if theyre healthy, but i really hope one of the guys stands out as better than the rest and makes the decision easy.

  • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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    Its pretty sad that with pass blocking a priority with a RB that they cant recruit better — recruit someone good at blocking AND being a RB. He states the priority and shows he is incompetent at getting one.

    Agnew has hamstring problems….not reliable. So give Woods or Brown a shot at it.. They are physical guys…..how hard can it be to throw a block at whoever is first thru the line.

    Using Ward is not good news.

    • bendbeaver bendbeaver says:
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      I’m sure picking up a foaming-at-the-mouth div I linebacker barreling through the line is a piece of cake. No different than high school, really.

  • Dwill03 Dwill03 says:
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    Schnell also wrote earlier today that Riley said Woods was “kinda sorta” the #1. With the local papers struggling with readership, I’d take everything with a grain of salt.

    • angry angry says:
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      She also has a quote by Ward saying he needs to improve his blocking
      “Ward said he has a “really good” grasp on the playbook, but that he need to improve on his blocking. “

      • alex says:
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        Last spring in an interview Riley said that Jenkins was the best blocker, followed by Ward. It was implied that that was Woods’ primary weakness.

        So yeah, I thought that comment was weird.

  • bone says:
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    I haven’t seen much of this group since the season ended (the practices I went to were either in shells or just helmets).

    To me Agnew when healthy could be a Simonton/Bernard type back. Just a back who can do everything very well. The problem is his health is keeping him off the field.

    Ward, I did not like he fumbled too often, indecisive on which hole to take. I agree with Steve, if he is our guy I have to be worried. Or he could have had a good off season.

    Jenkins, a third down back and nothing more. Good hands, good blocker.

    Woods, I would like to see in full pads. From what I have read is he is a physical runner and the best receiver out of the group. I have a feeling he will be the one coming out on top.

    Brown, all I’ve seen is a highlight tape from his sophomore year.

    But from what Riley and Brasfield are saying in interviews is that they are giving them all a look. Still a lot of football to be played over the next couple of weeks.

  • alex says:
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    Angry, Agnew only fumbled twice last year, right? I remember Sac State and Utah, am I missing any?

    Ward, I remember several more fumbles, in addition to some very close near-misses (eg his one touchdown, in which he wasn’t even really holding the ball as he crossed the goal line).

    • angry angry says:
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      I can’t find Agnew’s stats, but I think he fumbled a lot more than twice. Didn’t he fumble twice vs Sac State?

      • bone says:
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        I think that was our minds minds playing tricks on us. After 3 years of no fumbles to go the next year with a running back who coughed up the ball I believe 3 times (sac st. Utah, and byu). I would argue that he fumbles more than we were accustomed to. 3 in a year isn’t a reason to burry a guy in the depth chart.

        • alex says:
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          Though to be fair, he didn’t play all season either (maybe 60%?) So that raises the severity of 3 fumbles.

          It’s weird ESPN doesn’t track fumbles. I would think carries per fumble would be a meaningful number in evaluating a RB.

          • bone says:
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            That is a good point. But my biggest concern for Agnew is whether he can stay healthy, not the amount of fumbles he has. I think ward has the bigger problem with fumbles based on what I saw last season.

        • angry angry says:
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          I wonder how many times he fumbled but didn’t lose it. There’s no way I’d associate a guy with fumbles with only 3…he must have had more that the Beavs recovered.

          • bone says:
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            That could be it. I remember ward putting the ball on the turf a lot but we recovered it. It would be nice if they kept those stats. Some of us might have do a little home work this season and keep that stat.

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            Agnew lost 3 fumbles on 89 carries last season. About 1 in every 30 carries is a little steep but he was young too. A guy can grow and learn and improve.
            I find many posters here want to brand a guy for life based on his first few performances.

          • Sparkyd73 says:
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            I think that the perception was even raised a bit because the media kept saying those guys were in Riley’s doghouse for not holding onto the ball.

  • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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    When we got Quizz as a frosh, he was not a starter at first. What was it, the Penn State game(?) and McCants couldnt do squat, we are WAY behind and they finally put Quizz in, ….and he runs right thru them, and LO! .. we march down and score.

    So like someone said above, the best guy may yet become a starter, but the question that begs an answer….is why in hell couldnt the coaching staff realize that McCants is worthless and Quizz is the real deal?

    Like angry said more than once, this staff has a real weakness in being able to see talent. Or maybe they can see it, but are too gutless to go with new talent.

    • bone says:
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      Some players aren’t gamers. Shine a light on them and they shrivel up faster than an Eskimos scrodum. And with other players the brighter the lights the brighter they shine.

      • Beavergopher Beavergopher says:
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        I won’t ask how you know about Eskimo scrotums.

        • bone says:
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          Good plan. To be honest I don’t know much about them either. To be even more honest, I stole that quote from Ron Swanson in the hit TV show “parks and rec”. I should do a better job citing quotes, to avoid future embarrassment at my expense.

    • bendbeaver bendbeaver says:
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      See: Mannion vs. Katz

    • Sparkyd73 says:
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      It was a lot easier to two hand touch Quizz in practice than to actually tackle him in a game. And, McCants really looked the part. If his skill ever would have caught up with his physical abilities, he and Quizz would have been unbelievable together.

  • beavskis says:
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    Ward looked pretty bad last year. If he’s the starter we are in for a long year. Hard to believe that Woods can’t beat him out.

    • angry angry says:
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      Hard to believe that Woods can’t beat him out.

      We know Riley doesn’t always play the best guy, so that’s not fair to Woods.

      We’ll know after we see these guys get carries in a few weeks…really curious to see if Riley can put the correct 11 on the field from game 1 this year.

      • sparkyd73 says:
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        Angry, I’m curious to know your opinion, if Brown is the best running back but is only about 60% in knowing the playbook do you go with Woods or even Ward that know exactly where they need to be for that first game or two?

        • angry angry says:
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          I’m not sure if Brown is the best back, but I know what Ward and Agnew are, and both have flaws. Woods is an unknown, too. This is why I left the question open-ended…Riley could know best in this case since we don’t know what Brown or Woods are (just their film, which is good to great for both).

          If Brown doesn’t know the playbook he can’t start. Don’t want a dumbed down run game just to get him on the field.

          I actually like Agnew’s ability, but he gets hurt and fumbles too much (per carry). He’s a good runner when those things aren’t happening, though.

          I’d rank the backs like this:

          Agnew > Ward
          Then two unknowns in Woods and Brown, who (on film) both look all-around better than Agnew and Ward.

          I have some faith in Riley to make the right call…he’s not terrible in analyzing RBs. He’s much worse with LBs and secondary. Someone pointed out that Ward had a great HS career, and that is true, but he runs upright and isn’t shifty…those are not good traits for a small back. Only a 3.3 average per carry last year–that’s not going to cut it.

          I think Agnew is the safe play, and then we just have to hold our breath every carry.

          Ps. I liked Stevenson…thought he was underrated and did everything well. I don’t think he’ll be a good CB, so that move is disappointing…fell like he’s now a wasted scholie.

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            I agree with this Angry. Unless something develops in camp and based on the info we have, run a healthy Agnew out there.

          • sparkyd73 says:
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            I agree with that assessment. The one caveat that I would add is that a RB can improve in things. Last year’s line was pathetic and reading holes is certainly something that a back can improve from watching film and getting more reps. I think that 3.3 ypc may not be a total representation of his ability. As, I don’t know for sure that 200+ yards against Sac St. is a fair representation of Agnew’s ability.

            I would love for Woods or Brown to emerge, but this all may be moot unless the O-line is truly better this year.

  • Hellobeavers says:
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    Did Agnew ever really show much promise? He put up 200+ against Sac State, but any D1 RB should be able to do that. I hope it’s Woods or Brown, but I’ve never seen either. I look forward to Silverstreams analysis of the position.

    My favorite back last year was Stevenson.

  • progressivebeav says:
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    Day 7 – Running Backs

    ———-

    I’ve read good things on Twitter about Woods, I really hope he steps up. I think Agnew is in the doghouse for his fumbles, and who knows if he can stay healthy for a full season.

    Sounds like between Brown, Ward and Agnew, one will redshirt, hopefully Brown.

  • matt b says:
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    Here is a tale of two players. One is tall and one is short. One was highly recruited and the other one walked on. One had two years to be labeled a freshman. The other had to play as a true freshman. One threw 18 interceptions and was an honored All American. The other fumbled several times and was called a cancer by the faithful. Both of these guys are earnest and decent. Both try to represent their university with honor. One gets a free pass. The other has been branded.

    • sparkyd73 says:
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      I’m not sure I understand where are you going with this post. Are you saying that Mannion should get raked over the coals as much as Ward? If your point is that the people should not brand a RB for life because of his performance as a true freshman, I can agree with that. I do see players on this site get tossed aside after a year and the “new” guy annointed without taking into account that the old guy could have gotten better, faster, tougher.

      But, when you are comparing Mannion to Ward you lose me in your argument. First, I really don’t think anyone is giving Mannion a free pass on anything. He was debated fairly good last year. But, what people that understand the progression of a football player know is that throwing interceptions can often be cured by experience and a good off-season learning from your previous mistakes. Mannion has all of the right tools (some would say except ability to run) be successful in Riley’s system and I think most fans would agree that he could be one of the best ever if he continues to progress. Fumbling a ball, on the other hand is not often cured by hours in the film room. A RB can get better at securing a ball, but often a guy that has trouble with fumbling does not improve significantly over the off-season.

  • beaverkman beaverkman says:
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    and here we go…

    ?@LindsayRae19 Freshman offensive lineman Garrett Weinreich down at practice & it’s not good. Looks like a left knee. Gonna have to be carted off the field

    snakebit!

    • Hellobeavers says:
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      That’s too bad. Was he going to play this year? He wasn’t on the projected depth chart on o live.

      • beaverkman beaverkman says:
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        Expected to be in top 10 linemen rotation RT @JHCurrin: @LindsayRae19 Was GW expected to contribute this season or was he going to redshirt?

        He was going to be a backup, but if he improved as the season went along it was hard not to think he would overtake Kelly.

    • sparkyd73 says:
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      That stinks. Injuries are going to happen and while I hate to see it happen to a kid with such potential, at least it happened when he won’t have to burn a year of eligibility. And for the team, it isn’t a guy that our entire year’s success is pinned to.

  • Hellobeavers says:
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    I watched an interview with Wheaton tonight where he was talking about how the team has leadership this year and that will translate into more wins. I do believe the team will be better this season but is it just me or does the media try to push this story-line every year?

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      LOL … I really recall some tough talk about being embarassed by the 5-7 year, and how the players had come together to show how that was an anomaly….

      and….turned out it WAS an anomaly …lol.

  • OneEyedKing says:
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    Whatever happened to Akuna? He was our #1 recruit a few years back, and we desperately need help at LB, but nobody ever talks about him.

    • beaverkman beaverkman says:
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      I believe he is Doctor’s backup.

    • progressivebeav says:
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      He had issues with injuries last year, missed most the season with a concussion. Red shirted in 2010. Hopefully he does something this year.

    • mckalk says:
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      Long is a tough son of a bitch and a stand up guy. Didn’t he resign from his New Mexico job because he was embarassed at playing ,500 ball? Riley take note.

  • capitalcause says:
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    It’s fairly unanimous; Ward gets the least respect on this board. But, he’s the guy that’s getting most of the reps. This kid was the NorCal player of the year on one of the best HS teams in the country. He set their single season yards record (a couple of good backs came before him.MJD). Results are all that matter, but don’t be surprised when he delivers…GO BEAVS

    • Jack says:
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      It’s not unanimous. I like the kid and lobbied hard for him to get a ship two years ago. His brother was a late bloomer who had to earn his keep. And Terron shows more upside. Besides, of the four backs who started last year, Ward was the only one with a winning record when he did start.

      It’s unfair to say Ward’s ypc means anything. He was the only back trusted in short yardage, so many of his calls were for that one yard gain… or loss when the O-line did what it did last year.

      Someone above said he didn’t hit the right hole? There were holes? I only recall Ward bouncing off tackle once, and he got the ball scraped out when he did–one of two fumbles he had, neither of which were lost… not including his lone PR attempt which was muffed out of bounds.

      Other than Stevenson’s TD catch, Ward’s receiving numbers were pretty much the same as his.

      Now look at Agnew. He fumbled more than three times, and I think all of them were lost. Take away SacSt and his ypc was 3.7, and he would be the fourth most efficient runner last year… behind Wheaton. Add all that to injuries and a whopping three catches for eight yards.

      Woods and Brown are the unknowns, and all I want is to know.

      • matt b says:
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        Good analysis. The running back situation will get sorted out in scrimmage and in games. This is a position that can’t be figured out in ” two hand touch”, which is mainly what they have done to this point. Terron Ward may or may not deserve to start. But he is a grinder that will show his worth over time but not necessarily on a highlight reel. Agnew, Stevenson and Woods need to show that they want it play after play. Brown will have to adjust to not having monster size holes (shown in his hs video clips) that were like the parting of the Red Sea. This competition will be good for OS

  • Sparkyd73 says:
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    I sure wish I had info from SS on the running back situation. Cliff is the only one that has given the edge to Ward from what I have read. Doesn’t make sense from spring ball and everything I’ve read.

  • Bill says:
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    Under Riley, the starter has always been the best blocker and the one who fumbles the least. With slightly more emphasis on blocking.

    Blocking is a huge part of the scheme. The best in recent memory was Bernard. How many times did you see him pick up blitzing linebackers and go low and flip them?

    I am not in favor of putting a true frosh out there. Ball control will always be an issue with young backs. Quizz was the exception to the rule and that didn’t even happen until the 3rd game.

    Let Agnew, Woods and Ward sort it out. I think Woods is the favorite. Got to have one back who can prove he’s a 3 down back. Otherwise other teams will be able to key on personnel packages.

  • lovebeaver says:
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    I am a little filipina fan of my beavers and will becoming to america for the first time in my life soon. My biggest dream is to see the boys play a big game in corvallis. I will be screaming my head of in the stands and i will be incredibly excited watching Mannion and the boys score a touch down. Maybe if i yell loud enough and pray hard enough the kids will pull out a win for me.I hope Riley will come up with a more exciting offense this year. Go fight boys!!!

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    Hi boys….back from almost a month on the road. London was great. We had tickets to a couple of the major track events, mixed in a little of the swimming. Tickets to less popular events, if interested, were easy to score on the streets and pubs.

    I’ve spent some time catching up on Angry posts and reporting. Nothing really too remarkable at this point. I guess it’s “wait and see” what team shows up on 9-1.

    I bumped into John Canzano at the local Pret Mager. We had a brief discussion about the Beavs. He intends to spend some time, as he called it, on the “Riley situation” when he gets back. I didn’t disclose the existence of this forum. I wouldn’t want him to feed off the anti-Riley and anti-BDC commentary, he can work for his own sources. JB

    PS: Next up… hitting On Demand to catch up on Breaking Bad.

    • ObjCritic says:
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      Welcome back, looking forward to your posts.

      Sometimes taking a break from something (OSU football) helps bring into specific relief how little things change…

    • angry angry says:
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      The Life of Riley Pettibone

  • ObjCritic says:
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    It will be interesting to watch how Rodriguez defends the spread (e.g. against UO) as he’s familiar with spread offenses and runs a different D than OSU:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/pac-12/index.ssf/2012/08/pac-12_rundown_for_tuesday_in_progress.html

    I think UA will be adjustin, and will need more appropriate players for their schemes that they’ll attempt to address with recruiting, so they may not have much success this year, but their approach will still be interesting.

    • WFO WFO says:
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      I agree, AZ will probably be decent for a year or two while Rod recruits players to fit his scheme. Then they should pick up a bit. Wazzu will probably be better/sooner than AZ if they get an injury free season from their QBs.

      I will miss Stoops turning beet red and losing his shit on the sideline. So fun to watch a Stoops lose.

      • ncaa_viOlation ncaa_viOlation says:
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        mama always said…..Stoops is as Stoops does

        • Beavergopher Beavergopher says:
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          Somebody here posted the perfect description……….”he looks like a pissed off Barney Rubble.”
          Still cracks me up. He will be missed.

      • sparkyd73 says:
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        You are assuming he will be able to do better in AZ than at UofM? Michigan fans live and die based on their performance and he had unlimited history and resources to draw on. I think at best it is a 50-50 experiment. He may see success but I don’t see it as anywhere near automatic.

        • ObjCritic says:
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          Oh I don’t see his chances of success as any better than 50:50, but I think watching a Rodriguez, who knows the spread, and runs a different defensive scheme, play the Ducks for example, will be an interesting comparison to Riley/Banker and their inability to defend the spread or to attempt any other schemes that might better fit their players.

          RichRod’s players are adapting to new schemes, so maybe they won’t do well against Oregon at all, but seeing a different approach than Banker’s could be interesting for comparisons sake.

  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    So I see Chad Johnson is in trouble.

    It looks like he has two options; 1.) Utilize that fall-back Forestry degree that he secured in his five month stint in Corvallis. 2.) Change his name for the fourth time to “Ponche con Cabeza” and launch an ultimate fighting career in the octagon. JB

    PS: It’s too bad he played offensive in football, defensive players learn not to lead with their heads.

  • hellobeavers says:
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    I just read this on Building the Dam and thought it sounded like a smart way to approach things.

    “Another difference than in the last couple of years is an increased amount of time that the defensive 1s and 2s are working against the offensive scout team, and the offense 1s and 2s are working against the offensive (assuming he meant defensive) 3s and 4s. This makes some sense, given that the defense won’t see many offenses that look a lot like Oregon St.’s pro-style, and also a recognition that the Beavers’ 4-3 look won’t be encountered nearly as often as will 3-4 looks being adopted widely across the conference. It doesn’t make sense to work primarily against looks you won’t see.”

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    On the Scout board they have a Day 7 II write up which imo is interesting.

    In there there’s mention of RB Chris Brown fumbling twice and TE Colby Prince dropping 3 of 4 passes which were thrown his way.

    http://oregonstate.scout.com/2/1211317.html

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