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Running Backs Ready to Be Big Again in 2008

August 24, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Running backs coach Frank Hickson previews Liberty's potent running attack heading into the 2008 season.

Running backs coach Frank Hickson previews Liberty's potent running attack heading into the 2008 season.

Countdown to Kickoff Central

Coach's Corner Interview with Frank Hickson

For the second-straight season, LibertyFlames.com's Countdown to Kickoff coverage will feature the Coach's Corner, an in-depth position-by-position breakdown for each of the Flames' player units.

The coaching vignettes will include an article on the position, that position's preseason depth chart and an audio interview with the spotlighted unit's position coach. The 10-part series continues today with a look into Liberty's running backs. Last year, the Flames rushed for 32 touchdowns, setting a new program standard along with the way to the Big South title.

Running Backs
The legend of running backs at Liberty has spread throughout FCS football over the last decade, but the legacy left behind by this year's ultra-talented running backs might just leave records in the books which may stand for quite some time.

The tandem of Rashad Jennings and Zach Terrell have terrorized the Big South Conference the last two years. The pair has rushed for a combined 3,569 yards and 49 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

Despite missing the first two games of the 2007 season, Jennings posted numbers impressive enough to garner Big South Offensive Player of the Year honors. He rushed for 1,113 yards and 15 touchdowns, ranking No. 6 nationally in scoring and No. 13 in rushing.

"Rashad is just a phenomenal player. The way he has worked throughout his career has really impressed and somewhat amazed me," remarked head coach Danny Rocco. "I have been in a number of places, including at the NFL level, and I can tell you, this guy physically is a specimen.

"He is in the top one percent when you take a look at his height, weight, speed, strength, explosion and in some of the different tests he does in the weight room," continued Rocco about one of the top returning backs at the FCS level. "I'm really expecting an unbelievable season from Rashad. We really think we have something uniquely special in Rashad, and we need him to have a dominating year."

The unsung hero behind Jennings is a steady workhorse in Terrell. After taking home Big South Rookie of the Year honors in 2005, Terrell stepped to the "A" back position to allow Jennings to assume the tailback role. But step back he did not, as he has rushed for 2,104 yards and 26 touchdowns, including 16-straight games with a rushing touchdown heading into the 2008 slate.

"Zach is a gifted running back, who has great vision for the field," said Rocco. "He has a great sense for seeing openings and cutting. He is bigger and stronger than defenders think.

"He is one of those guys who we are all very proud of because of the maturity and the progress he has made not only as an athlete, but as a person in all areas of his life. He is very deserving of a big year."

Terron Lawrence and Terry Williams lead a deep pack of running backs behind the previously mentioned dynamic duo of Jennings and Terrell.

"Terry is a guy who has a lot of explosion and speed," continued Rocco. "He is coming off some injures though and he is yet to perform at the level we think he is capable of. But he does have some upside and talent when we get him back healthy and ready to go."

Running Backs at a Glance
Front Runners

TB - Rashad Jennings (Sr., 6-1, 230)
HB - Zach Terrell (Sr., 6-0, 200)
Contenders
B.J. Hayes (R-Fr., 5-9, 185)
Aaron Hewlett (R-Jr., 5-7, 165)
Terron Lawrence (R-Jr., 5-7, 175)
Terry Williams (R-So., 5-9, 185)
Up-and-Comers
Julian LiDrazzah (R-Jr., 5-8, 200)
Alfonso Wells (R-So., 5-8, 175)

To catch previous installments of the Coach's Corner or to take a look at future position segments, below is a complete Coach's Corner training camp schedule:

Links to Previous Installments
Coach's Corner Preview (Aug. 1)
Coach's Corner No. 1 – Defensive Backs (Aug. 2)
Coach's Corner No. 2 – Offensive Line (Aug. 5)
Coach's Corner No. 3 – Tight Ends and Fullbacks (Aug. 6)
Coach's Corner No. 4 – Linebackers (Aug. 10)
Coach's Corner No. 5 – Wide Receivers (Aug. 13) 
Coach's Corner No. 6 – Defensive Line (Aug. 18)
Coach's Corner No. 7 – Special Teams (Aug. 20)

Schedule of Future Features
Coach's Corner No. 9 – Quarterbacks (Aug. 25)
Coach's Corner No. 10 – Defensive Coordinator (Aug. 27)

Tomorrow, LibertyFlames.com will continue its Countdown to Kickoff coverage with another Coach's Corner segment. During the preview, the web site will look at Liberty's quarterbacks, led by four-year starter Brock Smith. The senior is coming off a banner year in 2007, but is looking to lead his team to back-to-back championships before leaving the program.