Rockets offense should flummox defensesWritten by Scott Calhoun | | email@example.com
Coach Tom Amstutz and staff seem to have a cleverly simple offensive philosophy: break down opposing defenses by sending in one attacking regiment variable after another, particularly out of the backfield.
That approach will be realized this season with another crop of strong and versatile running backs. This time around, the advantage looks to be substantially augmented by an unprecedented trio of tight ends with interchangeable strengths.
“It gives us an advantage because we’re able to change faces, change philosophies within a drive, within a quarter, and within a game. We can go from hard-nose run the football to a play action trick type of game to a drop-back passing game. With so much competition at all the primary offensive positions it allows us to go to fresh bodies late in the game,” Offensive Coordinator John Shannon said.
The carousel will revolve around junior first-string back Jalen Parmele, last year’s vice running back to the graduated Trinity Dawson. Although he has only amassed 477 yards and six touchdowns in his first two seasons, Parmele clocks in as the fastest man on the team with a 4.43 second 40 and the team’s highest vertical jump at 41-4.
“I expect Parmele to have the light click on and realize that he’s the star running back in the spotlight now. I need him to carry the show for us and be that star out of the backfield. We have other running backs that are very capable behind him and they’ll get that chance, as well,” Amstutz said.
Parmele is a self-described “power back with finesse capability.”
“I consider myself a bruiser-type of back who gets right at the defense. If I have to juke I’ll juke, but I mainly just try to weave through the blocks of my offensive lineman. I’d say my style resembles Shaun Alexander,” Parmele said.
Second in line will be sophomore Richard Davis. Last year, Davis offered glimpses of his quickness when he came off the bench in his first collegiate game versus Western Illinois and proceeded to dazzle the Glass Bowl crowd with an impressive 111-yard performance on 13 carries and a TD. In UT’s very next game, Davis again traversed the field in large quantities per attempt with 69 yards in nine carries. With Parmele providing more of the bruising-power style of rushing, Davis is expected to counter-jolt defenses with his speed and juking ability so the duo can administer in four quarters what one cross-skilled back could over three before growing tired.
“I consider myself a speed back and I’d describe myself as a Clinton Portis,” Davis said.
The piling on doesn’t stop there for opponents. Redshirt freshman DaJuane Collins has taken the opportunity to grab the wide-open third slot in Toledo’s RB cycle and harnessed it well. A strong showing during the spring practices and this month has the youngster ready to step into that surprise late-game role of challenging tired defenses with a fresh pair of capable legs. Collins is a perfect crossbreed of the distinct styles Parmele’s finesse speed and Davis’ power bring to the turf.
“DaJuane has it all and can do it all — the power, the jukes, the speed. He’s a perfect compliment to me and Richard,” Parmele said.
“DaJuane’s shifty. I’d have to say he reminds me of DeShaun Foster,” Davis said.
A blend of power and speed from Collins will augment the Rockets’ ability to dizzy opposing defenses.
“When a defense is stopping our power game, we can go to a speed game or vice versa to a power game. Right now the way we see it is we’re just going to rotate, because the fresh legs are better than the tired ones late in the game. We have an advantage because if we’re getting tired on the field we can just come to the sideline and the coaches will plug another of us in there,” Collins said.