April 30, 2013

Where does Randle fit in Big D?

Joseph Randle will be wearing the star in Big D this fall, and likely for many falls to come if he shows Jerry Jones and the Cowboys what he showed Mike Gundy and the Cowboys the last few years.

Obviously, I'm no expert or beat writer for the Dallas Cowboys, but I do watch their games and dive into their stats quite a bit being a Fort Worth native.

Since Randle was drafted, I've dissected where he'll fit with America's Team while gathering other information from various sites and stories out of the metroplex.

Last year, the one-two punch for the 'Boys were former OU back DeMarco Murray, and Arkansas speedster Felix Jones, although the latter didn't exactly help that much. They combined for 272 carries (Murray with 161, Jones with 111) for 1,065 yards behind a raggedy offensive line.

With Jones not likely to return to the team, Randle's expected to slide into the No. 2 spot, and absorb those carries that Jones took last season. The Cowboys have also been worried about Murray's durability after he missed six games in 2012 with injury, following three games missed in the 2011 campaign.

The next aspect of where Randle fits with the Cowboys is up for discussion, but pretty easy to figure out after watching tape on both of the backs. At Oklahoma, Murray was 4-10 hole runner (The 4 hole is between the right guard and the right tackle, with the 8 hole outside of the tackle, and the 10 hole even further outside. They coincide with the 5-9 hole on the left side). He found his success on zone-handoffs and Power-O gives with the Sooners in their pro-style hybrid offense.

The same can be said about Randle at Oklahoma State, although it looked a bit different due to the Pokes usually being in the shotgun. A lot of his yardage came on handoffs in which he followed Kye Staley and Jeremy Smith into a hole around the tackles, and found lanes at the second level to explode through.

The comparisons are probably what had Jerry Jones ready to pick Randle up in the late rounds of the draft, as it's not crazy to think the rookie could pick up where Murray leaves off if he were to miss an extended amount of time. Randle also showed durability when Smith went down in the middle of 2012, taking almost all of the team's carries in the middle of the year. That's something that can only be a plus for Dallas.

You never know what will happen in Training Camp and the early part of the season, and it could turn out that Randle never sees the field. That's the fun part of the draft, you just never really know. But if his game translates from college to the professional level, which is usually the case for running backs with Randle's style of play, look for a decent dosage of the rookie this fall in Big D.

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