Richardre Bagley, Darrell Bridges experienced running backs for Mocs

Richardre Bagley, Darrell Bridges experienced running backs for Mocs

July 18th, 2017 by Gene Henley in Sports - College

UTC running back Richardre Bagley breaks away from VMI defensive back Greg Sanders on a touchdown run during the Mocs' home football game against the VMI Keydets at Finely Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

VMI linebacker Allan Cratsenberg tackles UTC running back Richardre Bagley during the Mocs' home football game against the VMI Keydets at Finely Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

VMI linebacker Allan Cratsenberg tackles UTC running back...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The Times Free Press is taking a daily positional look at the 2017 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team, leading up to the first practice on July 24.

Today we look at the running back position:

WHO'S BACK?

Richardre Bagley rushed for 593 yards and five touchdowns while adding 177 yards and four scores receiving as the Mocs' primary backup last season. He was at his best with 315 yards and four scores in wins over Virginia Military Institute and Western Carolina, starting in place of injured Derrick Craine. Bagley will find his way onto the field, as could junior Alex Trotter, who put on 30 pounds during the offseason. Sophomore walk-on Chris Miller totaled 89 yards and scored his first touchdown in the 2016 season-opening win over Shorter.

NEW FACES

The Mocs already had signed their running back of the future in 6-foot, 210-pound Chris Broadwater but received an additional bit of depth when former Ridgeland standout and Presbyterian all-conference back Darrell Bridges announced he would come to UTC for a graduate transfer season. Bridges rushed for 2,182 yards and 12 touchdowns during his Blue Hose career and will battle for a starting spot. With the change to a pro-style offense, Torrez Finney — a scout-team linebacker last season — positioned himself to be the starter at fullback coming off a strong spring. The former state champion wrestler has shown promise as a lead blocker as well a change-of-pace runner. Broadwater rushed for 1,197 yards and 22 touchdowns during his senior season at Tucker High School in Georgia, helping the Tigers to the Class AAAA state-title game in 2016.

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STRENGTHS

On a team that is talented everywhere yet inexperienced in a lot of places, the Mocs have two running backs — Bagley and Bridges — with considerable experience at the college level. They should complement each other, with Bridges capable of getting a lot of carries and yards from handoffs while Bagley is able to gain yards either out of the backfield or being flanked out wide. Plus the 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior's ascension to one of the leaders on the team during spring meetings will be helpful going forward.

WEAKNESSES

It's a new offense, adjusting from the spread that's become a staple of college football to a pro-style look under a new coaching staff, which means different responsibilities for the backs. The only experience the backs have in the system is from the spring, and Bridges was still at Presbyterian. He and Bagley could become a potent 1-2 combination, but it may not be an immediate impact.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenleytfp.


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