Part 3 of the Kansas Football Preview is going to take a look at the Running Backs for this upcoming season and why we can expect more out of the group than we got in 2016.
In 2016, Kansas football’s run game was non-existent. I wish we could’ve seen more out of Senior RB Ke’aun Kinner, but the offensive line could not block for the RB core to save their life. Only a handful of rushes broke for more than 30 yards, but that should change this year.
Led by Junior RB Taylor Martin, the Kansas football rush attack will be more productive. Now don’t forget, the offense is implementing an even bigger Air Raid Attack, but that will open up the run game more than you may realize. Along with that, the line is bigger, more experienced, and better be better at holding a block and opening holes for the Backs to run through. If the offense can successfully pass the ball also, that will allow the field to spread out for more gaps for the speed of Taylor and Sophomore RB Khalil Herbert.
If the Spring game is any indication of what we will see once the season official begins, we may be seeing a lot of the read option. I know that Stanley is more of a running QB than Bender, but both guys have the ability to move their feet, get out of the pocket, and pick up gains on the ground which will open many new doors for the RB’s as well.
We also can’t forget to mention the additions of Freshman Dom Williams and JUCO transfer Octavius Matthews who came from Itawamba Community College, the same as Peyton Bender. Keep an eye on these two, as we may see some significant touches from them, especially early in the season. Bender and Matthews came to Lawrence together, so they already have the chemistry and experience that could prove to be effective if they happen to find themselves on the field at the same time.
For the most part, I think the offense will be significantly better this season, and you’ll notice it the most when it comes to the rushing attack. We have multiple players capable of breaking open huge runs and in a primarily pass offense, you’ll notice that these plays are going to stick out.