Earlier in the year, everyone was talking about WVU’s depth at running back: Wendell Smallwood, Rushel Shell, Donte Thomas-Williams, and Elijah Wellman. However, CFBSTATS provides a different story:
- RB Wendell Smallwood has ran the ball 26 times for 184 yards
- RB Rushel Shell has carried the ball 19 times for 69 yards
- RB Donte Thomas-Williams has carried the ball 8 times for 20 yards
- TE/FB Elijah Wellman has yet to carry the ball
- Here is the kicker: QB Skyler Howard has carried the ball or scrambled 21 times for 75 yards.
Against Liberty QB Skyler Howard had 12 carries for 68 yards, while RB Rushel Shell had 11 carries for only 27 yards.
Anytime, your QB is the leading or 2nd leading rusher on the team for a game and/or for a season, you are hurting at running back. If Wendell Smallwood goes down WVU loses their running game, for it appears so far that neither Shell nor Thomas-Williams can get the job done.
Others who have carried the ball for WVU in the 1st two games are:
- QB William Crest with 9 runs for 8 yards
- IR Jacky Marcellus with 1 run for 4 yards
Shell and Thomas-Williams were both highly touted recruits coming out of high school. Shell played a year for Pitt, before transferring to WVU, and both Shell and Thomas-Williams were 4-star recruits coming out of high school.
There may be an upside to this, for Shell has at times shown flashes of what he is capable of. However, thus far he and Thomas-Williams have proven to be more ‘dud’ than ‘stud’. Earlier this season in an interview Thomas-Williams proclaimed himself to be the best running back at WVU, then why can’t he run past the line of scrimmage. I know, it’s the fault of that unseen line called the line of scrimmage, it keeps reaching up and tripping these guys up. I mean you can’t see it, so this must be the cause of their lack of running ability.
Maybe Shell with all his dancing due to his indecisiveness is actually trying out for ‘Dancing With The Stars’. But don’t you have to be a ‘Star’ to get on the show?
In all seriousness, WVU has only 2 people who have proven they can and will run with the ball: RB Wendell Smallwood and QB Skyler Howard. If not for these two players, WVU would only have 101 yards rushing for 2 games. As it stands WVU has 287 yards.
Knowing this WVU has to be looking for and recruiting running backs for 2016. And if Smallwood or Howard goes down, WVU loses a 1/3 of its running game. And, God forbid, should such a loss happen the outlook on WVU’s season could become very dim unless another back steps up his game.
Photo by NewsAdvance.com