An overcast sky and a threat of storms couldn't keep the Golden Gophers from taking the practice…
Freshmen Running Backs Have Impressed
Edwards will have to work on keeping his pad level low. He has a very upright running style and almost bobs up and down as he runs instead of keeping a forward lean. He will also need to work on his explosiveness. Huge running backs don't need to be explosive to be effective but Edwards will have to improve his burst through the hole.
Size, strength, and a physical running style are Edwards' greatest tools so it's tough to get an accurate picture of his potential until he gets suited up in full pads.
Donnell Kirkwood has been impressive thus far. Kirkwood has a fantastic build for a running back. He has a very low-cut frame and owns the thickest lower body of all the running backs. Jon Hoese was impressed with Kirkwood's strength in the weight room this summer and it looks like his hard work has paid off.
Kirkwood possesses surprising bust for a player of his stature but lacks top end speed. While he may not make defenders miss with his agility he should be a load to tackle once he gets rolling.
Like Edwards, he will probably be more impressive in full equipment when he can effectively use his strength and balance to power through the defense.
Devon Wright will need to add weight and strength to his long 6-foot-0 frame, but he has shown flashes of the prospect that won back-to-back rushing titles in Broward County as high school player.
Wright seems to have the best agility, burst, and vision out of the three freshmen backs. He also catches the ball well in passing drills and does a good job adjusting his body to catch poor throws.
In high school, Wright ran away from defenders instead of through them, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to bigger, stronger, and faster competition in the Big Ten.
On tape, Wright's biggest assets are his vision and his ability to find the hole, make one cut, and burst into the second level. There have been a few plays during practice where Wright displayed a knack for sifting through defenders in the hole and running to the open field for substantial gains.
Wright seems to be the most explosive playmaker at the running back position and with an offense looking to improve upon a league worst three yards per carry, he could get some touches this season.
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