As the former wide receivers coach at Maryland, first-year head coach Lee Hull is intent on adding a passing element to Morgan State’s offense. But tailback Lamont Brown III hopes Hull won’t overlook what has been the unit’s traditional strength: running the football.
“I look at myself and Herb [Walker Jr.] as two of the top running backs in the [Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference],” said Brown, a redshirt sophomore. “Whether [Hull] wants to run the ball or we have to get involved with the passing game, we’re still going to be there, and he has two of the best running backs in the league and can’t forget about us.”
Brown, redshirt sophomore Walker and senior Tracy Martin make up a formidable partnership in the offensive backfield. Last season, Brown led the Bears in rushing (708 yards) and was tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns (five).
Walker ranked third in rushing (390 yards) and scored once. Martin averaged 6.4 yards (89 yards on 14 attempts) in limited appearances.
In Wednesday’s scrimmage at Hughes Stadium, Brown totaled 74 yards on 15 carries, while Walker rushed 12 times for 54 yards and one touchdown.
“I saw two very good running backs that we can count on,” Hull said. “And Tracy did a good job, too. He only had a few carries, but he’s in the mix, too. So I think we’ve got three very good running backs. Obviously, Lamont and Herb carried the load for us today, and with that tandem, I think we can have one of the best backfields in the league.”
Brown and Walker have similar builds. Both are listed as weighing 180 pounds with Brown being two inches taller than the 5-foot-8 Walker. Both players agreed, however, that Brown is the speedier tailback, while Walker is the power back.
“We’re just a 1-2 punch,” Walker said. “It’s fun. He’s a competitor, and we just push each other.”
With the team undecided between redshirt senior Robert Council and redshirt junior Moses Skillon as the starting quarterback, the running backs could provide some stability – which Hull is fully aware of.
“They give me a lot of confidence that we can run the ball,” he said. “I just want our passing game to get to the same level as our running game because in this type of offense, you don’t want to be one-dimensional. So we have to be able to throw the football because then the defense doesn’t know what you’re going to do. So our passing game has to improve.”
Until there is some clarity at the quarterback position, the tailbacks might be expected to anchor the offense. That would seem to heighten the pressure on the running game, but Brown downplayed the burden.
“We just have to make our plays when our number is called,” he said. “Whichever quarterback is in, we know they can throw the ball and the receiver will make a big play. But when we’re in there, we definitely have to make a big play. We have to make a name for ourselves and our offense when our number is called.”