July 31, 2006

Camp Preview: Running Backs

Open Arizona State's 2006 media guide and you'll see that Dirk Koetter said, "As a unit, the running back position might have the biggest upside on the entire team." When you consider that the Sun Devils return Keegan Herring, who set a freshman rushing record last season, and two bigger, physical backs who will be in the mix as well, and they'll be running behind a veteran offensive line, it's no surprise that Koetter would feel that way.

Herring was the top freshman rusher in the Pac-10, and he finished ninth overall in yardage with 870 yards on 158 carries (5.5 yard per carry) and six touchdowns. That is a solid season for any ball carrier, but when you consider that Herring did it as a true freshman, and that he did it while splitting action with Rudy Burgess (145 carries), it becomes all the more remarkable.

The fifth leading returning rusher in the conference and the No. 3 returning player in yards-per-carry (5.7 yards-per-carry in Pac-10 play), Herring probably would have had an even more impressive first season had he been a more well-rounded back, and had he not battled some fumble issues early in the season.

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