Project 2014: The Fullbacks
Image Credit: Comcast SportsNet
The fullback is a dying position in football today, especially in the college ranks. Many teams are moving to a spread offense, leaving fullbacks as we know them in the dust. But Mike Locksley still has a need for a fullback in his offense. Whether it’s leading the way for a tailback in a classic I-Formation or lined up alongside the quarterback in a pistol formation, he has shown how valuable a fullback can be, even in a spread offense.
2013 Rushing Rank: 87th (144.6 yards/game)
(Discuss this article on the BSL Message Board here.)
Tyler Cierski – Senior
2013 Statistics: N/A
2012 Statistics: 3 carries, 10 yards, 3.3 ypc, 0 TD; 0 catches, 0 yards, 0.0 ypc, 0 TD
Tyler Cierski missed most of the 2013 season due to an injury that he suffered in fall camp. His role for the Terps had been almost exclusively as a blocker in his two previous seasons, though he did see a few carries in very short-yardage situations. He was one of the best fullbacks in the country when Ralph Friedgen recruited him out of Dacula, GA and was a big part of Maryland offenses over the past few years. His absence would have been much bigger if not for the very impressive performance of Kenneth Goins Jr.
Kenneth Goins Jr. – Redshirt Sophomore
2013 Statistics: 8 carries, 45 yards, 5.6 ypc, 0 TD; 4 catches, 49 yards, 12.3 ypc, 1 TD
As you can see from the statistics above, Goins is more of a playmaker at the fullback position than Cierski is. A running back at the Gilman School, Goins did very well for the Terps in his first season of action. He was the dive man on triple-options from the pistol formation, and caught his first touchdown pass in Maryland’s first game of the 2013 season against Florida International. Mike Locksley’s offense is probably better suited to Goins’ style of play than Cierski’s, which is one of the reasons why Goins continued to start despite Cierski being healthy in the last few weeks of the season.
While casual fans may not realize it, Cierski and Goins will have one of the more interesting battles in the offseason. Goins probably has the upper hand on the position due to his breakout 2013 season, but when Cierski is healthy he is one of the better fullbacks in the country. Goins adds a running and receiving threat to the offense at fullback, which Mike Locksley would obviously like. But Cierski is probably the better pure blocker of the two. We saw how much Locksley likes the inverted bone formation in 2013, so both fullbacks could see the field in that area of the offense, but it will be up to the coaches which style of player they want at fullback in the other formations in 2014.