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Ford deserves a more prominent role


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http://media.www.usforacle.com/media/storage/paper880/news/2007/10/31/Sports/Ford-Deserves.A.More.Prominent.Role-3068527.shtml

Ford deserves a more prominent role

Daniel Falco, ColumnistIssue date: 10/31/07 Section: SportsPrintEmail DoubleClick Any Word Page 1 of 2 next >

He was once the top running back prospect in the state of Florida. He set a state record with 2,836 rushing yards to go along with an astounding 37 touchdowns. He had 200 or more yards in each of 11 consecutive games.

This five-star recruit didn't go to Florida, where many of the top recruits end up. He didn't elect to go to Miami or Florida State or any other school that would have given him more recognition and thrust him farther into the limelight. He chose USF to be his home for the next four years.

When Mike Ford elected to join the Bulls, the entire campus was abuzz. Everywhere I turned someone was asking or talking about Ford - the best running back in the state of Florida. I was constantly told to watch his high school highlights on YouTube.

Maybe this could be another case of an over-hyped player coming to a team and not living up to the promise. We would have to see it for ourselves.

Well, we did. In his first game as a South Florida Bull, he disproved the doubters by scoring three touchdowns and averaging 13.8 yards per carry. In his second game against a tough Auburn defense he came away with 90 total yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and one reception.

Unfortunately, that would be, by far, the most action he would receive. He has not received more than eight carries in the last four games.

Common explanations and thought could be that this star running back may be good because he is a freshman and has to earn his dues. Benjamin Williams is proven and hasn't been outplayed yet.

Fellow freshman Jamar Taylor sees more action than Ford does. Yes, Taylor has less carries, but he does have more receptions and is on the field almost twice as much as Ford.

As an avid football fan with a coaching mentality, I can't explain the decision to not feed this 6-foot-2, 225-pound workhorse the ball. This athlete falls forward every play, averages a team-high 5.2 yards per carry and is second only to quarterback Matt Grothe in USF touchdowns scored with seven.

One thing that has kept me sane over the past few games is the fact that I don't know what happens behind closed doors on the team. Maybe Ford isn't doing well in school or isn't getting along with teammates. I would say, "maybe he's learning a life lesson from the coach. Maybe the coaches lost faith in him when he had three fumbles in two games."

I chalked it up to wisdom on the coach's part.

That was before Rutgers.

Now I am furious and I want answers. Not only was he not utilized for the fourth game in a row, but he had the fewest rushing attempts all season. Against the Scarlet Knights, Ford carried the ball only four times for nine yards.

Of course, when he was put in on the goal line he did his job and punched through the line with purpose for yet another touchdown.

Although Ford is a special back with a great mixture of power and speed, he can't be used like a Reggie Bush and only come in the game for certain situations. He is the type of back who will wear down the defense with his upfront and hard-hitting style of play. If he and Williams can each get 10-15 carries a game, it would take pressure off Matt Grothe to always supply the offense.

Maybe now that USF's "championship" run has been clearly put to rest, coach Jim Leavitt will try to make a Ford appearance on the field a more consistent occurrence.

There are plenty of teams out there that would make him a feature back, which he is fully capable of being, even as a freshman. He came here to play, not sit.

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Awesome

I take back everything I've ever said about the Oracle!

The Oracle is great!

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perfect timing now that he has a rib injury

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I agree with the article but now that they have lost two games it's kind of too late to realize the full potential of this season anyway.  I am over the Ford debate for now and that's coming from someone where it REALLY drove me crazy that we didn't use him enough in those games we lost.  It was like watching a slow death and then a couple boneheaded moves to ultimately blow it at the end of each game.

If he has some sort of attitude problem and the coaches are teaching him a lesson then kudos to sticking to your guns but they haven't said he has had any further issues academic or otherwise.  They suspended him for the one game for academics and made a point and still didn't really use him after that.  I am confused and I don't get it.  Then again, I don't get a lot of the things the offense did in the games we lost.

I like Ford a lot and I hope they can coach him up so we can actually have a consistent running game the next few years.  Taylor also looks great and I can't wait to see these guys fully unleashed.

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So, are we going to have more Mike Ford threads this year than On Campus Stadium threads?

My feelings are known on the Ford situation. I don't think he needs 100% of the carries, but 75% would really open things up for our offense, create space for receivers, take some heat off of Grothe. It's not just what he does with the football in his hands, it is what the defense has to do when he is on the field.

No offense to P Julmiste, but he took a lot of heat. That was WITH Andre Hall. If PJ had to play like Grothe is now, fans would have probably burned him alive at the 50-yard line.

Think about the option with Matt, right now, a fake to Ben frees Matt up to run a little, a fake to Ford would free him up ALOT.

Unless your QB is named Marino or Favre, he needs a running back to open things up.

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I think Grothe does an amazing job with the guys he has around them.  I just can't imagine what he could do if he we could make the defense have to key in on a major threat at RB.

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And this garbage from the Oracle is different how from the rest of the stuff published ?

Oh, some of you agree with it.

Mad about the Rutgars game ?  Really, considering he was hurt that makes alot of sense.

There isn't anyone on this board more then me that wants Ford to live up to all the hype but he is a freshman.

Give Mike time to make the transition - I think he will be great.

Has anyone noticed who gets the ball near the goal line ?  he is a scoring machine.

He still needs to learn how to catch the ball.

College career has been six games and out for two.

The future is bright.

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perfect timing now that he has a rib injury

Thats what I was thinking ::)

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