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Georgia State football A to Z: B is for backfield

Georgia State running back Kyler Neal. (Courtesy of Georgia State)

Georgia State running back Kyler Neal. (Courtesy of Georgia State)

To mix things up, I thought I’d do a look-ahead to Georgia State’s August camp in a different format, A-to-Z:

I’ll continue to post one letter a day on the blog, continuing with:

B

Backfield.

Georgia State hasn’t had the best of luck with keeping running backs healthy or on the roster.

Krysten Hammon, last year’s starter, quit the program after a few weeks.

Kyler Neal and Jonathan Jean-Bart suffered season-ending knee injuries in the same game at Washington.

Gerald Howse suffered a thumb injury before the season even started.

Marcus Caffey moved from starting at cornerback to running back and had some good moments, but also fumbled quite a few times.

Put it all together and the backs combined to rush 390 times for 1,156 yards for a woeful average of 96.3 yards per game, second lowest in the Sun Belt.

Turning to this year, Neal is healthy. Caffey is back. The coaches recruited two new potential starters in Kendrick Dorn and Demarcus Kirk to add skill and depth.

Neal is the presumed starter because he’s the returning starter, but Caffey and Dorn will push for playing time. They bring different skill sets. Neal and Caffey are more of the straight-ahead bashers, though Caffey has some moves, while Dorn is more elusive. The key to reps will be which one can block better in passing situations.

The backs should be helped by an offensive line that’s as deep as it has ever been, and by experience in the system. Neal showed real promise last year before sustaining his injury, and Caffey should benefit from a training camp in which he will get to focus exclusively on his new position.

Coach Trent Miles is an emphatic believer in running the ball. This year he may actually get to.

The series

A is for Arbuckle.

 


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