Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles previewing the 2013 football season at Missouri S&T. The daily stories will feature one position, or a set of positions, each weekday until the team reports August 11. Today's story features the Miner running backs.
A coach knows he had a good situation on his hands at a position when he loses an all-conference running back – and knows there are already solid players in place to fill that vacancy without possibly missing a beat.
That is the case for Tyler Fenwick's Missouri S&T squad at the running back position heading into the upcoming 2013 season. The Miners lost veteran back Curterris Golden after a season in which he ran for 836 yards and an S&T record-tying 14 touchdowns last fall, but several experienced backs are returning that figure to adequately fill that role.
"We are young, but we do have some players with some game experience," Fenwick said.
Heading that group of returners is Scott Hendricks (Kechi, Kan./Maize HS), a sophomore who had some big games of his own last season with three 100-plus yard games on the ground and a final total of 609 yards. Hendricks, one of the fastest players on the S&T roster, averaged just over four yards per carry in 2012.
Also back in the fold for the Miners are sophomores David Hughes II (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit HS) and Zenel Hudson (Bayshore, N.Y./Milford Academy). Hughes ran for 222 yards during his first year with the Miners, while Hudson scored four touchdowns in the second half of the year as he finished with 218 yards.
Another returner in the backfield for S&T is senior Anthony Moore (Hazelwood, Mo./McCluer), who has shuttled back-and-forth between offense and defense and is expected to settle in at running back this year.
"Zenel has a lot of ability and is very explosive," Fenwick said. "Scott is a player who is very quick and is able to make people miss and David is a bit of a mixture of the two. Anthony is a senior with a lot of experience and a good leadership player. They are all able to catch the ball out of the backfield and from a blocking standpoint, they aren't afraid to stick their nose in there to pick up a blitz."
Among the freshmen, one who could have an immediate impact is Michael Cardwell (Morro Bay, Calif./Mission Prep), who ran for 1,370 yards at the high school level in California last fall and a player Fenwick feels can bring a different element to the offensive unit.
Returner Brent LaPietra (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) and incoming freshman Dalton Major (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bishop McNamara) will also compete for spots in the backfield.