Baylor’s running backs present serious threat

NOT LOOKING BACK Junior running back Johnny Jefferson carries the ball into open field during the Russell Athletic Bowl against North Carolina at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla, last season. Photo Credit | Sarah Pyo, Editor-In-Chief

Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

The position of running back in football has greatly diminished in value ever since the rise of superstar quarterbacks, so it is that much better when you are able to find just one running back with really good talent. Fortunately for Baylor this season, it has three of them on the roster.

Someone who has definitely noticed and taken a particular liking to this group of talented running backs is new head coach Jim Grobe. When asked about the running back group, Jim did not shy away from giving them some praise.

“I’ve, you know, honestly been impressed with all three of these running backs,” Grobe said.

Grobe went on to talk about senior running back Shock Linwood and how Grobe thinks he has been coming along.

“I think Shock has really practiced hard,” Grobe said. “He looks like he’s on a mission, and he knows with Terrance Williams and the other running backs that he’s got some competition.”

In three years at Baylor, Linwood has run 3,462 yards on 575 career carries, averaging six yards per carry and scoring 34 touchdowns. He is also 212 rushing yards away from setting the new all-time Baylor career rushing yards record, which was previously set by Walter Abercrombie. Linwood is also one touchdown away from tying the all-time rushing touchdowns record set by Alfred Anderson.

Another running back is junior Johnny Jefferson. He didn’t play as a true freshman, but rather red-shirted to keep eligibility. Since he started playing games in 2014, Jefferson has played in 22 games, rushed for 1,524 yards and scored 14 touchdowns on 236 carries, averaging a total of 6.5 yards per carry.

Both Linwood and Jefferson were nominated on July 14 as candidates of the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the best running back in the county. This is the third straight year Linwood has been nominated for the Doak Walker Award, while this is Jefferson’s first year. Last season, Linwood and Jefferson combined for a total of 2,329 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 332 rush attempts combined. The Doak Walker Award is named in honor of Souther Methodist Universities three-time All-American running back Doak Walker.

Although the events that have occurred off the field may have some impact on the team, senior quarterback Seth Russell said his team will be working through things and will find a way to overcome any challenge.

“Our running backs are doing a really good job at getting the ball and getting the play in,” Russell said. “Our first game might be a little rocky, hopefully not. We aren’t where we need to be, but we will get there.”