Among the several Brigham Young Cougars players who stand to gain from running back Joshua Quezada transferring, redshirt freshman Adam Hine was voted the one who would benefit the most. Hine received 41 percent of the vote. Junior Michael Alisa was a distant second with 17 percent. True freshman Jamaal Williams was third with 14 percent followed by senior David Foote (12%), sophomores Iona Pritchard and Paul Lasike (both 7%), and quarterback Riley Nelson (1%). One percent of the voters were undecided.
Using my definition of “benefit,” my vote goes to Alisa.
For me, benefit means to get more carries. Before Quezada decided to transfer, I thought he would get close to 100 carries this year. Now, another player, or players, will get those 100 carries. Here is how I think they will be split up:
Alisa: 50 carries
Hine/Foote: 20 carries
Nelson: 15 carries
Pritchard: 15 carries
These are just rough estimates. Basically, as the number one back, Alisa will inherit the bulk of the load. In situations with the right down and distance, the full back (Pritchard) will get what would have been a Quezada carry. Other situations will dictate a designed quarterback run (Nelson) that would have been a call for Quezada. The loss of Quezada does open up more opportunities for Hine and the others, but I think that opportunity only translates to 20 carries.
The last couple of years BYU has used a running back-by-committee approach, which was adequate. It is not the preferred method. The only reason it was expected that BYU would still use two running backs in 2012 was because Quezada established himself his freshman season, and had a legitimate excuse (bad ankle) for at least some of his poor production a year ago. Now that Quezada is gone, having Alisa shoulder the load like Curtis Brown and Harvey Unga did will be the approach used.
Naturally, there is the possibility that Hine, Williams, or some other ball carrier makes some big plays early in the season and earns considerable more touches. It is also possible that Alisa regresses, or has an unfortunate injury, and the Cougars have to find someone else to be their primary back. However, I think the odds do not favor any of these scenarios.
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