It’s time to review the backfield.
And it’s obvious where to start.
To say star running back Ka’Deem Carey had a terrific season last year is an understatement.
In his first campaign as the leading running back, Carey finished the year with 869 yards on 164 carries, seven touchdowns and two 100+ yard games.
His total rushing yards in 2021 was double the 422 yards he had when he led the team in rushing in 2019.
Not only did he lead his team in total touchdowns, but he was the best running back in the CFL, leading to his nomination for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award and the title West Division All-Star.
“The sky’s the limit for him,” new running backs coach TJ Vernieri said.
“The biggest mark I have for Ka’Deem right now is – last year I think he had 26 catches, which I think was the most he’s had since he was there. in Arizona – I think that’s a remarkable stat because it just goes to show that not only does he carry the ball in terms of running plays, but he has an impact in the passing game (as well).
“I think you want to see any ball carrier have a big impact in the passing game and have a multi-faceted role in attack.”
The Red and Whites were famous for their one-two punches over the years, with stars such as Joffrey Reynolds and Jon Cornish, then Jon Cornish and Jerome Messam, and even Don Jackson and Terry Williams all sharing the backfield in the last decade.
But, with Ante Milanovich-Litre and Roc Thomas gone, who will pick up the rest of the load behind Carey?
Although there is no dynamic duo sharing the load of the team at the moment, Vernieri is more than confident about the guys playing behind Carey.
“I think we have complementary pieces in Ka’Deem. We may not have a similar player type to Ka’Deem in terms of skill, but I think we have complementary pieces that can catch the ball, run routes, and I think that’s going to go well together with whom we decide to go. behind Ka’Deem.
Peyton Logan has had a good camp so far, snarling for a few long runs during practice and the red and white scrimmage match. In Saturday afternoon’s preseason game against the Lions, Logan would run for 12 yards on his first rush of the game. He was signed as a free agent earlier this month, coming out of Tennessee-Martin where he played in 52 games from 2017 to 2021. Logan had 1,143 yards on 156 carries during the 2021 season, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
“I’m really happy with the depth we have at the moment, but Peyton has been great, he’s been snappy in meetings, I think he’s really in tune with his assignments and really the sky’s the limit. I said the sky’s the limit for Ka’Deem, but the sky’s the limit for the next few guys that step in and play,” Vernieri said.
“Obviously Ka’Deem can’t play all the clichés; we’re going to have someone play some of the shots, so I’m really excited to see what these guys can do.
Along with Carey and Logan, Dedrick Mills is fighting for a permanent spot on the Stamps roster. He was an honorable mention for all Big Ten in 2019 and played in 18 games for Nebraska where he recorded 1,141 yards and 13 touchdowns on 227 carries.
And don’t forget the Canadian talent. In the preseason opener against the BC Lions, Mills led the team in rushing yards with 55 on nine carries and scored a touchdown.
The depth chart also includes 2022 sixth-round pick Rasheed Tucker, who had 1,573 yards and 15 touchdowns in 21 games at Queen’s. In 2021, Tucker earned U Sports All-Canadian honors. Tucker would also hit the clay on Saturday afternoon, working his way into the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“I think right now we have a great group,” Vernieri said. “Obviously you want to come in every year and believe you have a better group than the year before, but I honestly think that’s the case this year. I think overall our depth is impressive.
“Overall I’m really excited and we have a great squad.”