The Longhorns could have as many as five, maybe six, get multiple repetitions in the backfield when Kell faces Osborne tonight in a Region 7AAAAA (B) game at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium.
In all, 17 different players have carried the ball for the Longhorns at the midpoint of the season.
“This year, we have guys that fit the category of running back than we have in the past,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “There is not one guy who has completely separated himself to the degree that he is that guy.”
Three of the five running backs expected to take multiple snaps have more than 100 yards, and that doesn’t include Brendan Langley’s rushing numbers.
All 183 of Langley’s rushing yards this season have come from the receiving position.
Jamari Moore, who is the fastest of Kell’s running backs, leads the way with 339 yards and has two touchdowns. Khalil Bell, who is the more physical back, has 180 on the year but leads with four touchdowns. Seth Brown is the other 100-plus-yard rusher this season with 106 yards.
Zach Lopez, another physical back, is at full strength from injury. And if the injured Dyllen Reed is cleared to play tonight against the Cardinals, he’ll be another backfield option for the Kell coaching staff.
And whoever gets handed the ball depends greatly on the game situation. Moore and Bell usually gets the bulk of the carries because they don’t play on defense as often as the others. Both Lopez and Brown have had bigger roles on the defensive side of the ball.
“There will be (players) going in at certain times based on what we want to do and what those guys’ talents are,” Cook said. “If we need a big body to go bang and block, it will probably not be Jamari. Jamari is more the one-back guy used when we spread you out, and when he gets the crease, he’s gone.
“We have to think more as coaches from that perspective because in the past, they’ve been the universal body. When they line up, they can do the same thing almost equally.”
Cook is referring to his former running backs Brian Randolph, Jordan Chambers and Chris Gaines, who weighed roughly 200 pounds and can run a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
Known for their size, speed and the ability to break tackles, the Kell trio played a huge role two years ago when the Longhorns went undefeated in the regular season and made it to the Class AAAA state quarterfinals.
This season’s core of running backs are smaller than Kell’s running backs of old, but it doesn’t change offensive philosophy or success. Kell’s only loss came to undefeated Lassiter, and the Lonhorns are favored to win its subregion.
Kell defeated Riverwood 35-7 on the road last week and totaled 223 rushing yards while doing it. Bell had two touchdowns from 10 and 2 yards out, with Moore the Longhorns’ rushing leader with 115 yards on nine carries.
“We are who we are,” Cook said. “We run the same plays as we did last year. Some if it depends on the individual talent and who is healthy at the time. I don’t think we’ve changed our philosophy on offense based on who we have in the backfield. We design a play or two to fit that kid’s strength.”
And there is the possibility of adding Langley to the backfield.
“We talked about doing that,” Cook said. “We haven’t been in a situation where we needed to do that yet.”