September 13, 2007

Running Back Unit Aims for Impact Season in 2007

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While the emphasis this year seems to be on junior quarterback Nathan Ford and a talented wide receiving group, any follower of Red football knows that the tailback will never be forgotten. Especially when you figure feature running back senior Luke Siwula is still in the fold.
Siwula, a two-time All-Ivy selection, enters the campaign 22 yards shy of the 2,000 career mark. Last season, Siwula piled up 885 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. In addition, Siwula caught 11 passes for a total of 141 yards — resulting in two touchdowns.
And while you can expect Siwula to remain an important cog in the Red’s attack, do not be too surprised to see him play somewhat of a different role.
“You will see the running back more involved in the passing game,” said head coach Jim Knowles ’87. “It is a part of our philosophy to move the ball through the air.”
In addition to Siwula, you can expect to see junior Shane Kilcoyne and sophomore Randy Barbour run the ball as well.
Last year, Kilcoyne often lined up together with Siwula in a dual-tailback attack that often was successful for the Red. In 2006, Kilcoyne averaged 5.0 yards per carry, totaling 350 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Additionally, Kilcoyne finished his sophomore campaign with six catches for 22 yards.
Interestingly enough, the San Diego native is actually slated to see more action at the wide receiver position.
“Kilcoyne was a running back for us last year and played some slot,” Knowles said. “But he’s going to be more of a wide receiver so you are throwing in more skill there.”
With Kilcoyne expected to line-up in the slot much more than the past, do not be surprised by the emergence of sophomore running back Randy Barbour.
Barbour, a 5-9, 195 pound explosive back from Huntsville, Ala., flourished last year on the junior varsity squad and has taken snaps with the first team this year.
Traditionally, the Red would have to ram the ball through the line despite the fact that many teams would overload the box knowing the Red would not challenge the secondary down the field. With a new emphasis on spreading the field and hitting one of the many capable wide receivers, there is even more opportunity for the running backs to explode for bigger plays.
“We are going to spread the field as much as possible to create running lanes,” Knowles said.