Aug. 26, 2009
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The way the SFA running backs ended the season last year should provide head coach J.C. Harper with a sense of comfort heading into the 2009 season. After being almost non-existent in the team's first five games of the '08 campaign, the backs turned it around in the final seven becoming an added weapon for offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. The running backs ended the season averaging 104 yards per game in the final seven games, and had two different 100-yard rushers.
SFA returns two of its top three ground-gainers from last season, both of which are seniors. Vincent Pervis and Tyrone Ross will be the Lumberjacks top two options to take some heat off of quarterback Jeremy Moses.
"We are fortunate to have two very strong backs this season," said running backs coach Jake Willingham. "Vincent Pervis and Tyrone Ross are returning seniors who really understand the offense, and both bring different strengths to the field. These two athletes compliment each other really well."
Pervis is a former honorable mention all-conference athlete who has battled through injuries to be a threat in the backfield as well as returning kicks. He enters his final season having rushed for more that 500 yards in his career.
"Pervis is our home run (hitter)," said Willingham. "He has the ability to break tackles and take it the distance. That is what you need in this style offense, a back who has the speed to make big plays, and Pervis provides the offense with that type of threat."
Ross transferred to SFA from Navarro Junior College and earned the starting role heading into last year's season opener. Ross started the first four games of the season, before being slowed by injury. Ross carried the ball 45 times for 172 yards and one touchdown on the season.
"Tyrone is the perfect compliment to Pervis because he is more of a smaller scat back," said Willingham. "Tyrone has the ability to hide behind the line and then make his cuts. He's actually a very savvy football player. Tyrone also does a really good job catching passes out of the backfield."
As the Lumberjacks enter the final week of fall camp, Pervis has a small edge on the competition for the starting spot, but Ross recorded the majority of the starts last season. Ross recorded eight starts last season, while Pervis recorded one.
Behind Pervis and Ross, the 'Jacks will be forced to rely on a group of young, untested backs but the potential exists for this group. It consists of redshirt freshman Romonté Hampton, true freshman Sedrick Hall and sophomore Jeremy Barnes.
"Romonté is a young guy with a ton of talent, but still makes youthful mistakes," said Willingham. "He is a very coachable player who does exactly what we tell him too. He's going to play a big role in this offense, and we expect him to step up."
Barnes, a San Augustine native who spent his rookie season in the Lumberjack secondary, is a young guy with great speed, but is still learning the position. Hall is a 5-10, 185-lb., prospect from Waco Midway High School. Although short on experience, Hall has shown during camp that he could be a contributor in the 'Jacks' backfield.