As usual, when I posted my feelings about our RB last year, many disagreed and toted the party line. I wasn’t nasty, didn’t insult anyone - just expressed my thoughts about the position. Never mind that what I posted was essentially borne out to be true as the season went along. That’s the way it always is - people are quick to criticize any opinion (and, stated as such . . . not “a FACT” as so many do) - well thought out or otherwise - that doesn’t line up with “conventional wisdom”. However, curiously (not), those same folks are nowhere to be seen when it comes to backtracking and admitting that it was THEY who were wrong, once the facts are in.
I’m talking about this thread (see link below). To summarize, I said I had misgivings that Devwah was going to be the “next” in the line of “great” running backs in the tradition of DMac/Felix/Knile Davis/Alex Collins/Jonathan Williams/Rawleigh Williams. I went on to say that I wasn’t “down” on him, just didn’t see him being a standout like those others who worked their way into our record book. I also said I DID expect him to be a solid back, who made a positive contribution during his time here, as part of a running back rotation. You can look for yourself to see the responses I got. However, by the midway point of the season there were many threads - here and other places - much more CRITICAL of DW than my post ever was. As I said - par for the course for anyone who dares to have an original thought and simply expresses it. I’ve grown used to it.
Well, I’m going to say that this season, I think that our running game will be somewhat improved - it will go as far as our OL and defense (we won’t run as much if we’re far behind because our defense can’t keep the opposition from scoring) will allow it to go. But any failure we have in the run game will not be because of talent at RB. Again - i do think Devwah will be an important part of the rotation, but I would be surprised if he or anyone passed 1,000 yards.
One guy who’s not getting a lot of attention that I think will end up being an important back for us is Maleek Williams. I posted last year that I thought he might eclipse Devwah during their respective careers, but we didn’t see Maleek on the field with David Williams coming in late and being a senior. He ended up taking snaps that I thought MW might get. The benefit of that is that MW red-shirted and has four more years to play for us.
Now, I’m not predicting an All-Star season for Maleek, nor am I saying he’s going to be our lead guy. But I do think he will be more involved in our RB rotation by the year’s end than most are thinking at this point in July. Right now, he’s an afterthought; the last guy anyone mentions (if he gets mentioned at all) when our running game is talked about.
He’s just a good, all around RB who isn’t our best at any one phase, but is good or better at just about ALL phases of the RB game. I can see him getting snaps during our short-yardage situations and sometimes surprising by catching passes out of the backfield as well. There’s value in having a guy like that in the game, once he’s learned and contributed on all levels, because his presence doesn’t tip your hand to the opposition as to what kind of play you might be calling.