Aug. 27, 2010
In 39 years of fielding a senior college football team, Lamar University had only two 1,000-yard rushers - Sammy Carpenter in 1952 and Burton Murchison in 1985.
So, it came as a mild surprise when James Brown, Lamar's running backs coach, mentioned this week that this year's Cardinal team has two potential 1,000-yard backs. He referred to Octavious Logan and Cody Hussey, who are running 1-2 at the position on the Cardinals' depth chart going into the final week of preparations for their season opener at McNeese State on Sept. 4.
"Tay (short for Octavious) and Cody both have a lot of athleticism and running smarts," said Brown, who played his collegiate football as a quarterback at the University of Texas. "They were both 1,000-yard rushers in high school, so they know all about carrying a big load.
"As our offensive linemen come together with a couple of games of experience, I believe we're going to show the ability to have a good ground game to go along with the passing attack that has already shown some explosiveness."
Logan, a 5-foot-6, 170-pound junior from Starkville, Miss. by way of Navarro College and East Mississippi Community College, was a two-year, first-team all-state selection at Oktibbeha High School in Starkville. He rushed for 1,425 yards as a junior and 2,200 yards as a senior, averaging 8.1 yards per carry.
Hussey is a 5-6, 189-pound sophomore from Lumberton by way of Panhandle State. He, too, was an all-stater his senior season, rushing for 1,807 yards.
"Tay is the quickest, and he has the best speed of the two," said Brown. "Cody is really coming along fast now that he's getting more reps this week. He's a patient runner, and he knows how to find a hole and get through it."
Logan and Hussey both moved up a notch on the depth chart after Kwabena Asante, Lamar's most experienced running back going into fall workouts, suffered an injury in the Cardinals final intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 21.
"Kwabena shattered a thumb in the scrimmage, so he'll definitely be out for the McNeese game," said Brown of the 215-pound senior transfer from Hofstra. "He's missing reps right now, but the plus side to that is he'll give us a pair of fresh legs when he does get back."
While Asante is a 6-footer, Brown is not concerned about Logan's and Hussey's lack of height.
"They're short, but they're not small," said Brown. "From the waist down, they're both thick, and they're both strong. Their lack of height is actually to their advantage, because they can hide behind the guards and the tackles while they're looking for their holes.
"They're also both good at picking up the blitz and protecting the quarterback. They're not shy. They'll smack you in the mouth.
"When a team chooses to blitz, it puts the secondary in man-to-man coverage, and we have some receivers who are extremely talented at getting to the ball in one-on-one situations.
"We won't always be in the one-back set. We'll give the defenses other looks. We'll split the backs at times, and we'll go to the I at times.
"When we need a bigger back, we'll have Brandon Crissmon-Stewart (5-10 and 210 pounds) and James Laramore (6-2, 227). They're bigger guys, who I believe will eventually help us."