On Monday, Shane Beamer talked about Joel Caleb getting reps at tailback.
On Joel Caleb at tailback: “That may be his spot or it may not. We’ll work the first few days and kind of see. Knowing that we probably aren’t going to play six receivers in every game, let him work as a tailback right now, see if there’s a spot for him. He can always go back to receiver. We’re thin at tailback and we’re thin at receiver, so you’re going to be taking away from one or the other. If tailback isn’t the spot for him, we’ve already talked about Jerome Wright , he’s a guy that had a great summer in the weight room. He really looks athletic and his body’s different. He could be that guy we’re looking for when we need a big tailback.”
On bigger tailbacks: “Coming out of spring, we felt like we had two bigger backs, Michael Holmes and Trey Edmunds . Your guys on third and one, fourth and one, you can give the ball to them and pound it up in there. We’ve got some smaller backs in Chris Mangus , Tony Gregory and J.C. Coleman , but as far as guys who are over 200 and have that size, it was Michael and Trey. When we lost Michael, we were down to one bigger back. Trey is that guy right now. But, knock on wood, God forbid something happens to Trey and all of a sudden we don’t want to be in week six and we don’t have a bigger back that’s had reps. [Joking] Exum told me he wants to be that guy, D.J. Coles tells me every day he wants to be that guy, everybody wants to be that guy.”
On how Caleb feels about the move: “We talked about it as a staff and believe that Joel could be that guy. He was excited about it. At the receiver position, he’s had two coaches in the last year. He had never played receiver before, he was a quarterback in high school. It was just slow coming along. We put a lot on our receivers’ plates as far as splits and routes, there’s a lot. So it was slow coming along. He might end up being a great receiver, but he was a high school quarterback and good things happen with the ball in his hands. He’s shown since he’s been here that when the ball is in his hands, things can happen. He’s a playmaker. I took him and Deon Clarke out to dinner last week and we were just talking about a couple of things and I brought it up with Joel just to kind of feel him out and see what his reaction was, and he had a big smile on his face and was excited. He said ‘coach, I just want the ball in my hands.’ So we’ll take a look at it the first few days. If it’s a fit for him, great, we’ll go down that path. If it’s not, he can always go back to receiver.
On how he wants to split running back reps this year: “It’s hard to say. Two years ago we had David Wilson and Josh Oglesby, and David got twice as many as Josh did. They were rotating. David was taking two series, and Josh was taking one series. That may be the case this year. It may be a deal where we feel like whoever our top two are, they are rotating every series. I think they’ll kind of decide that over the next few weeks. So much of our stuff this year is more – not that we weren’t personnel based – we’re more elaborate personnel wise. Last year if we called one back, one tight end and three receivers, it was whatever tailback was in the game. This year we’re a little more flexible. We can designate…we want this tailback in for this play, or another for that play. It’s more specific from that standpoint.”
On whether it’s easier to make the transition from high school wildcat QB to college RB than transitioning from QB to WR: “Probably. I went and watched [Caleb] play Cosby High School his senior year, they were doing some of the zone read stuff, and I was thinking to myself, man he’s a really physical runner. He was getting the crap beat out of him on a couple of hits. That’s probably an easier adjustment than having to go out there at receiver and now you’re running routes, learning splits and releases and things like that. He’s more familiar with the ball being in his hands. The biggest adjustment for him at tailback will be the pass protection stuff. That’s a whole other world that he never had to deal with in high school. Running routes will be easier for him. The footwork that we want on certain plays is simpler than it was last year. It’s not as many, it’s pretty consistent, so that won’t necessarily be that hard. The thing for him will be the pass protection schemes.”