Aug. 24, 2010Note: This is the first part of a series detailing the 2010 Georgetown football team, position-by-position. Sitting down with new offensive coordinator David Patenaude earlier in the week, we discussed his responsibilities since arriving on the Hilltop this past winter, including the instillation of a new scheme and confidence in the Hoyas offense. Those will be themes throughout this series that continues today with the running backs.
WASHINGTON - The Georgetown football coaching staff understands that to be successful in the Patriot League they will need to establish its running game early and stay committed to it through the 2010 season. They also understand that teams utilize different talents in different ways, as they will look to best utilize a deep stable of runners.
In the running game, the Hoyas offense will feature two very different running backs in senior Phillip Oladeji (Plano, Texas/Plano East) a powerful "between-the-tackles" runner, who has compiled 487 yards over the past two seasons at a clip of 4.6 yards per carry. Junior Wilburn "Chance" Logan (Kingston, R.I./North Kingston/Gunnery), a high school running back, who has played in the slot at Georgetown moves back to his natural position and provides the lightning to Oladeji's thunder.
"Phillip Oladeji is our starting tailback," offensive coordinator David Patenaude said. "He's really strong, deceptively fast and a very powerful runner. We moved Chance Logan to the backfield. He was a running back in high school, was converted to a slot when he got here and was injured last year. He never truly fit as a slot, but he's really done a nice job as a tailback. He's really fast, he's a guy that when you get on the edge of the defense people are going to have problems not only tracking him down because he has very good straight line speed, but he's very quick in the box."
Oladeji characterized the Hoyas multi-dimensional rushing attack in the same way, "In high school I was running a lot higher and was always looking to put a move on a guy, where now I have put on a little weight and am looking to drop my shoulder down and run somebody over. Chance is a quicker than I am, so he can go out and really put a move on somebody, so we're a really good combination."
Patenaude expects to give defensive coordinators a different look with the personnel he puts on the field, hoping that the versatility of his skill players, especially the running backs can create match up problems.
"Chance and Phillip will probably be in the backfield half the game together," Patenaude said. "I think any time you have the chance to put two really good athletes on the field together it makes it harder for people to defend, so we're going to play a lot of two running back, three wide receiver sets. You'll see the ball dropped off to the running backs in the passing game with the idea that the linebackers have to step up and make tackles in space. We have some guys that are very good at making people miss."
Oladeji and Logan both look forward to show off their skills in other facets of the offense, including the passing game. In two seasons Oladeji has 25 catches for 149 yards and Logan, who was used in the slot during the 2008 season made 10 catches for 80 yards. Both figure to add to those numbers after spending the offseason working on their pass catching skills.
"Running backs today are not just carrying the ball they have to catch, too," Logan said. "Over the summer, Phil and I worked with each other catching the ball because we knew we were going to get a lot of opportunities once the season starts."
Patenaude's comfort in the pass catching ability of the offense's backs will help open a number of possibilities in the offensive game plan.
"With Chance, he's also played receiver so you can move him to the slot and he can motion back and you can give him a handoff," Patenaude said. "When you have two guys in the backfield that can also motion out and play in the slot it gives you a lot more flexibility.
Adding to the versatility of the Hoyas backfield, Oladeji has also shown that his physicality as a runner can transfer into his ability in pass protection. During the Hoyas intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, August 21, Oladeji was able to stand his ground a provide time for Georgetown's quarterbacks time to get the ball downfield.
"Phil has had to step into a leadership role coming into the fall," running backs coach Adam Banks said. "He's practicing a lot harder and it's good to see him be a lot more physical, not just as a runner, but in pass protection."
The Hoyas have been fortunate to have depth behind Oladeji and Logan, mixing a couple of seniors in Gyasi Parrish (Cincinnati, Ohio/Princeton) and Geoffrey Schnorr (Wappinger Falls, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham) with a group of talented freshman, including Nick Campanella (Roselle, Ill./Montini Catholic), and Dalen Claytor (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody who will be battling for carries during the 2010 season.
"We have the two seniors that will be able to step in and provide depth in Geoff Schnorr and Gyasi Parrish," Patenaude said. "They understand what we're doing, they're solid guys. And then with Nick Campanella and Dalen Claytor, as freshmen, those are two really good backs in this league. The dynamic guy in that group is Claytor. He's a little guy, but he's hard to see in the backfield, he's got very good hands coming out of the back and is extremely tough."
While the Hoyas backfield may not have the look of many traditional sets through the Patriot League, Patenaude believes the team will be in good hands for the 2010 season.
"We will run the football," Patenaude said. "It may not be a traditional run set like some of the other teams in the league, but we are committed to running the football. My last three years we've been almost fifty-fifty run pass at Hofstra, so we will run the football."