Three's Company What's life like in the Broncos' crowded backfield?

September 02, 2001

After a morning practice at training camp, Mike Anderson,
Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary sat for a roundtable discussion
on Denver's seemingly foolproof ground game.

SI: Why does this system work, seemingly no matter who's running?

GARY: I don't think anyone can do it, but it's all a matter of
being dedicated to the running game. I see teams shy away from
the run if it doesn't work, but we're on a mission every year to
run first.

DAVIS: What you have here are three guys whose work wasn't
highlighted in college. But look at the three of us. We've got
all the attributes you need to be good NFL running backs. Big
bodies. Tough. Speed and quickness. Soft hands. Very good
blockers. Some players come out of college, and all they can do
is run. You ask 'em to block, and they say, I'm here to run, not
block. That's not a complete back.

SI: Did it help or hurt to be college no-names?

DAVIS: When I came here, I realized I could play because I was
good at what they wanted: I could run hard, I could catch, I
could block. In the NFL you've got to be a chain-mover, and
that's what the three of us do.

SI: Is there a prototype Denver back?

ANDERSON: You're looking at three of 'em. Not flashy. No spin
moves. Just beat the defense, find the hole, run downhill.

SI: How important is courage? Olandis, you played a quarter
against the Rams last year after tearing your ACL.

GARY: A quarter? Try a game. The truth is, I tore the ACL the
week before, in the final preseason game.

SI: How do you rush for 80 yards with a torn ACL?

DAVIS: The heart, baby. The heart.

GARY: O.K., here's what happened. Terrell knew I was hurt. He
told me he was going to look out for me so I wouldn't have to
carry the load. Then he sprains his ankle. I had to go out there.
It wasn't that bad, really.

SI: A torn ACL's not that bad?

GARY: Oh, John Elway still doesn't have one. I don't think it's
that remarkable.

SI: What's it like bracing for the big hit against, say, a Junior
Seau?

ANDERSON: Let's see how big your heart is. You gotta show 'em on
the first hit you're going to be there all day. You hit a
linebacker, run over him, and you change the momentum. In one
play.

GARY: You better make sure you don't say we're running over Seau!

SI: Do you realize how rare it is to have three 1,000-yard backs
on the same team in their prime?

DAVIS: I wish it could stay like this, and we could all gain
1,000 yards together, but that's probably not going to happen.
The plate's not big enough for all of us to eat off it. But the
situation is so good. It's like a college team.

ANDERSON: We enjoy the moment. I hope it lasts. It's a great time
in our lives.

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY AL TIELEMANS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)