Going into the 2014 football season, it would seem that ASU is all set at running back. But ASU has options at the running back position. DJ Foster finished the season in place of Marion Grice for the final three games and did quite well. Foster’s explosiveness was on display with several long runs, including two against Stanford in the PAC-12 championship game. And even though he got a little banged up in that Stanford game, Foster did appear to be quite durable.
But three games is not a season. The running back position is a vulnerable one. Backs take a lot of punishment. Just look how the NFL has backed off of drafting running backs with high picks in recent years. Take a good look at how long a running back lasts in the NFL. It’s tough sledding.
Because of this, obviously, all schools including ASU like to keep a stable of running backs. With Foster’s versatility and experience playing in the slot, there may be some opportunities for the other running backs to get quite a few carries. Deantre Lewis has proven to be capable at running back. He hasn’t shown the raw athleticism that he did three years ago. Part of that may due to his injury, but it may also just be because he hasn’t touched the ball enough. Lewis’s only issue recently is his propensity to put the ball on the ground. Coach Graham has no tolerance for fumbles.
Then there is newcomer De’Chavon Hayes. Hayes is supposedly an “under the radar” steal at running back. His speed, vision and elusiveness has been raved about. People around the football program are talking about him being a big part of the offense immediately.
So, even though Foster is the first option at running back, don’t be surprised to see different packages in fall camp that have Foster lining up at receiver again. To his credit, Foster is just being a good teammate. He doesn’t appear to care what his role is. He seems to be happy to just be on the field and contribute. Hopefully, coach Norvell will experiment and find the best combination of weapons to punish defenses this coming season.