North Texas Daily

Football running back position group supplementing high-powered offense

Football running back position group supplementing high-powered offense

Football running back position group supplementing high-powered offense
October 17
12:22 2020

The experience and depth of the running back position group has shown to be a vital source for the North Texas offense in the 2020 season where the Mean Green stand within the top rankings of total offense. While the first three games of the season were a game-time announcement of a starting quarterback, the running backs were an option within the skilled position players to supplement and keep a balanced offense.

Through the first six weeks, the North Texas offense ranks No. 1 in Conference USA in total offense yards (2,200), No. 2 in scoring offense (145 points) and No. 2 in rushing yards (813).

“I’m excited about the talent within the running back group as much as anyone,” co-offensive coordinator Mike Bloesch said. “We’ve got big, fast and powerful guys and they’ll each rotate throughout the games to keep their legs fresh. With this group of guys, we plan on playing these guys by committee and letting the hot hand at the moment carry the ball. [Running backs coach Patrick Cobbs] has done a great job with this group and he continues to help them improve each day.”

Of the running backs with the most carries through the first six games, freshman Oscar Adaway III, junior Tre Siggers and senior DeAndre Torrey combine for 638 yards and five touchdowns.

Siggers and Torrey were expected to be the two main running backs on the depth chart heading into the season after Siggers led the team with 853 yards rushing and six touchdowns in 2019. Torrey tallied 967 yards of total offense in 2019. In 2018, Torrey led the team in rushing yards with 977 and 18 total touchdowns.

Head coach Seth Littrell said he was confident in what the running back position group was capable of doing while working around sophomore quarterbacks Austin Aune and Jason Bean competing for the starting quarterback position.

“The depth of our running backs has been a huge plus for us especially with these guys who have a lot of experience,” Littrell said in an August North Texas Daily interview. “These are guys you can feel really good about rotating in and out for how talented each one is. I think they’ve had a really good [fall] camp.”

In the opening game against Houston Baptist, Siggers and Torrey were listed as the top two running backs on the depth chart.

The emergence of Adaway is a weapon the North Texas offense plans to utilize among the skilled position player group. Adaway led the opening Houston Baptist game with 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 57-31 win.

The Mean Green offense set a school record with 721 yards of total offense against Houston Baptist. For the first time in program history, the offense rushed and passed for 360 yards in a single game.

Against Southern Methodist, Adaway led the team with 104 rushing yards.

“When he’s out there, he runs really hard and he gets his pads down low and he’s just a big guy,” Littrell said in a postgame interview following the Southern Methodist game. “He’s powerful enough to run through you and a good enough athlete to run around you. A lot of that is his mindset and he has that kind of confidence about him to where you can see the passion when he runs the ball.”

Since the 65-35 loss to Southern Methodist, Adaway has been sidelined due to injuries, planning to make a return against Middle Tennessee on Oct. 17.

The hiring of Bloesch as the co-offensive coordinator following the 2019 season shows the North Texas offense wanting to utilize the running game after two-time C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Mason Fine’s departure.

Bloesch in his first season as the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach brings experience within the rushing attack offense and a balanced passing game after spending the previous five seasons at Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricanes offense in his first full season in 2016 as the offensive line coach set an NCAA FBS record with the first 3000-yard passer, two 1000-yard rushers and two 1,000-yard receivers in a single season.

“Playing with tempo is a big part of our offense especially when you have guys up front like [junior tackle Jacob Brammer] and [junior center Manase Mose] who’ve played in some big games,” Bloesch said. “[The coaching staff] wants to be a balanced offense by understanding you need to run and pass the ball really well to win games. Sometimes we tell our players there might be a game where we’ll have to rush for 400 yards and throw for 100 yards or vice versa, and if you win everyone’s excited.”

Tommy Mainord serves as the wide receivers and co-offensive coordinator slot with Bloesch, who has been on the North Texas staff since 2016. Mainord has 22 years of coaching experience including stints with Texas football programs in Tarleton State, Sam Houston State and Texas Tech where the air raid offense was prevalent.

Despite the two coaches having expertise within different offensive styles, the two can support both the rushing and passing attack to work in-sync against opposing defenses.

“When us coaches come up with the game plan, we go with what sticks and we know our plan is simple,” Mainord said. “Before the quarantine, me and [Bloesch] looked on the board at all of our options offensively and there were so many that we had to eliminate some. He’s a great coach and we work very well together.”

Featured Image: Senior running back DeAndre Torrey gains yards against Southern Mississippi on Oct. 3, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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