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WMU Bronco football keeps on getting stronger

Western Michigan is about to reach double digits in terms of days completed during the 2006 preseason football camp. We take a look at the position of running back on the ninth day.

The primary job description to be an effective running back in Division I-A college football is the ability to take the ball from the quarterback, move past the line of scrimmage and break into the secondary for a chunk of yards. Don't tell the Bronco running backs that is all they are expected to do in order to be successful for this offense. They also need to be effective pass blockers, pick up blitzing linemen coming off the edge or a linebacker jamming his way up the middle.

That is not all a running back needs to think about. They must also work on their pass-catching ability out of the backfield as well. They must do all of these things well and, oh by the way, when their number is called to carry the rock - HOLD ON TO THE BALL.

These are the things the running backs concentrate on during practice. The first period is dedicated to working on ball control and being able to hold onto it in traffic by working drills in and out of the blocking dummies. The backs work on blocking drills in 7-on-7 sessions, getting down their blocking assignments, working on effective play action with the quarterback and working on catching the ball in the flat and in the box.

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Last season, Western Michigan had its first 1,000-yard running back since the 2002 campaign and had a pair of rushers average 4.5 yards per carry. One of those backs is back in the Brown & Gold, Mark Bonds. In 101 carries, Bonds netted 473 yards, three touchdowns and had his longest run measure out 44 yards.

Joining Bonds in the back are returnees Kirk Elsworth and Seth Quivey as well as a slew of newcomers - Brandon West, Bobby Crawford and Glenis Thompson.

Adding some variety to the position is Jamarko Simmons. Simmons is a wild card, having the ability to work out of the backfield, in the slot and out wide.

Courtesy of the WMU SID