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PRESEASON PRACTICE UPDATE: Running Backs Preview

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: August 18, 2012
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Aug. 18, 2012

RUNNING BACKS PREVIEW:

Three Monarchs who got substantial time last year return to the running backs unit in junior Colby Goodwyn, redshirt sophomore Angus Harper, and sophomore Tyree Lee.

"We're looking for a lot of big things out of those guys," said Running Backs Coach Bradley Watkins, who is in his first year on the Monarch coaching staff on a full-time basis after serving in a volunteer capacity the last two season "Angus and Colby have had a great preseason, they are running the ball really well and reading keys well."

And joining the Monarchs this fall are three newcomers in C.J. Bradshaw, Johnel Anderson, and Harvey Taylor.

"They are picking stuff up pretty quick," said Watkins of the newcomers, "which is good especially coming out high school. All are good backs and athletes."

"I feel like we're collaborating more as a team together," said Goodwyn on what he's noticed out of the Monarchs this preseason. I feel we have very good chemistry between quarterbacks, line, wide receivers, and running back."

"He pushes the tempo to the max," said Harper of Watkins taking over the running backs. "Everyday he comes out fast. Everything is fast paced, even when we are getting water. Everything is up-pace, up-tempo. He preaches a lot on mentally too that gotten me a better back from the spring up to now and it'll carry over into the season."

As a whole, Watkins noted the running backs already run the ball pretty well and a key to their success will be staying healthy.

Goodwyn suffered injuries both seasons including a torn bicep his freshman year and a high ankle sprain last year, which he was quick to say, "kind of knock me off course. I don't want to use that an excuse, but it held me back a little bit."

Even with missing three games with the ankle sprain, Goodwyn ended up with 581 yards on 129 carries and three touchdowns. Prior to the injury, he carried the ball 26 times for 184 yards and a touchdown, marking the second-highest rushing total in ODU's short program history in the Monarchs' win at Georgia State and the yardage mark was also the highest CAA Football total since Delaware's Andrew Pierce rattled off 200 yards against Duquesne on Sept. 18, 2010.

Harper was hit by the injury bug his freshman season with a knee injury, but made his first season on the field for the Monarchs a memorable one. Last season Harper totaled 633 yards on 141 carries with a team-leading 10 touchdowns and ranked 10th in the CAA in rushing averaging 48.7 yards per contest. He had a season-high 111 yards with two touchdowns against Hampton and also posted 106 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season finale at William & Mary.

"You can expect a lot out of Angus," said Goodwyn who feels like his teammate is a power back. "I feel that Angus' speed, cutting, reading has gotten a lot better from last year from what I see."

Harper, who refers to Goodwyn as his "brother from another mother" praised his fellow back for his slashing ability and stated that a healthy Lee will cause problems for the opponent defense. He also noted Bradshaw's skills from playing quarterback will translate well into playing running back for the Monarchs.

Fans should see a lot more from Lee this season, who was hampered much of last season with a knee injury. A much heralded "757" recruit out of powerhouse Phoebus High School, Lee came to ODU with a host of scholastic awards including Associated Press State Player of the Year, Eastern Region Player of the Year, Peninsula District Player of the Year, and Daily Press Offensive Player of the Year. Injury however limited Lee to just three games, but made the most of the trio of appearances having posted 38 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown in his debut against #20 UMass, ODU's first-ever CAA win, followed by 14 carries and 36 yards at Rhode Island and11 carries for 23 yards versus CAA Champion Towson.

"Tyree is just getting back into the groove," Goodwyn said of his teammate.

Bradshaw, who signed with the Monarchs in February, was a three-sport athlete at Kinston High School playing football, basketball and baseball. He played quarterback and safety being named Co-Offensive Player of the Year for the Eastern Plains 2A Conference. While under center, Bradshaw ran for 812 yards with eight touchdowns as he helped the Vikings to a class 2-AA Eastern Regional Title and runner-up at the state level.

"C.J. I feel he has a lot of talent and has come along a lot transitioning from high school," Goodwyn said of the newcomer who added that speed and tempo are two particular things to have to adjust to in the college game out of high school. "Johnel, Harvey, they've all come a long way learning the plays quickly."

Anderson comes to ODU from Paul VI High School in New Jersey were he was First Team-All Conference with 500 yards rushing with five touchdowns as a senior and 800 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns as a junior.

Taylor, like Bradshaw, transitions from quarterback to running back collegiately coming from Magna Vista High School. He rushed for 4,038 yards and 67 touchdowns during his career as he helped the Warriors to three Piedmont District Championships including an 11-1 record as a senior and 11-2 record as a junior.

"I'm expecting a lot this year from running the ball and getting a pretty decent number of carries between me and Angus," said Goodwyn of the upcoming season. "I just expect to help my team the best way I can and help get back to the national tournament."

"Practice has been great," said Harper "We've been very successful running the ball and very successful passing the ball. And it goes vice versa. The defense has been doing very well disguising their blitzes, good in coverage. Overall as team we're getting better as one, because we are one."

"I feel like we've got a pretty good running back corps this year."

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