Offensives that find any level of success must run the football effectively. The NFL has become more pass first, run second in both their style, philosophy, and play calling. As teams throughout the NFL have learned, the running back position is not to be undervalued. Having a solid backup or one that is able to help share the load is not only important, it’s vital!
Koetter’s coaching philosophy
Coach Kotter’s teams that he was the head coach of in college were, Boise State 1998-2000, and Arizona State 2001-2006. As an offensive coordinator in the NFL, he has always placed an emphasis on protecting the football, with no interceptions and no fumbling.
If you remember back during the pre-season a running back by the name of Storm Johnson was starting to shine, but a few fumbles where about the only thing he did wrong and despite of the injuries to the running back position the Bucs did not sign him back. Instead they chose a rookie Russell Hansbrough, with no NFL experience and a production level that was not was as good as Storm Johnson’s.
Going back to the last year of Kotter’s college days, his passing offensive totals were 2,569 passing yards, and 2,218 rushing yards, almost 50/50. His last year as an offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the offensive totals were 2,510 passing yards, and 1,970 rushing yards. If you were to fast forward a little to the last year he was with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 the numbers are further apart, with 4,758 passing yards, and 1,498 rushing yards.
However, if you look at the tools he had to work with, this quickly explains the reason for comparisons. In Atlanta, he had Roddy White and Julio Jones, and an aging Steven Jackson and a rookie running back in Devonta Freeman, which no doubt Dirk Kotter had a say in drafting.
Koetter’s Idea Type of Running Back
Going back to coach Kotter’s college days once more, you will find names such as Eron Hurley, Delvon Flowers, and Keegan Herring. In his pro days, before coaching the Bucs you will find names such as Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Devonta Freeman.
With the exception to Delvon Flowers, all were under 5, 10 and of a compact built body type. It safe to assume, he prefers this mold as his idea running back.
The Bucs future at the Running Back Position
As of now, the only running back available that is close to that mold Koetter likes is Matthew Dayes out of North Carolina State, listed at 5, 8 and a half and 203 pounds. Projected to be taken in the 6th round by initial reports, he could become that number 2 running back the Bucs will be looking for soon. Also do count out Peyton Barber. He has the necessary size and speed to serve as that 2nd running back. He also has a great story, he enter the NFL draft early to help his family that is currently undergoing economically crippling circumstances, what’s not to root for better, then guy with that kind of story.