|Vincent Smith (#2)|
Name: Vincent SmithHeight: 5'6"
Weight: 180 lbs.
High school: Pahokee High School in Pahokee, FL
Position: Running back
Jersey number: #2
Last year: I ranked Smith #36 and said he'd be a backup running back. He started 10 games, rushed for 601 yards on 136 carries with 5 touchdowns, and caught 15 passes for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns.
I have no choice but to admit that I was wrong about Smith's role in 2010. He received a plurality of the carries given to running backs (quarterback Denard Robinson ran the ball most often), and finished with 4.4 yards per carry. My frustration with the way running backs were deployed by Rich Rodriguez has been well documented, not least because from a purely mathematical standpoint, Smith was Michigan's fourth-most explosive runner (behind Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michael Cox, and Michael Shaw). Of the 21 players with over 100 carries in the Big Ten last season, Smith had the 17th-best yards per carry; he was #12 of the 16 Big Ten running backs.
Brady Hoke's offense will likely put more of an emphasis on running the ball with power, and finally someone seems to agree with me in regard to Smith's talents. Hoke doesn't seem to think that Smith is a feature back, either, which was evidenced by the seeming use of Smith as a third down-type back in the spring. And for the record, I have no problem with that. Smith is a third down back in almost every stereotypical fashion (good hands, willing blocker, quick and elusive in open space, etc.). He could be very integral to the offense this season, and I wouldn't mind seeing if he could help with punt returns. Though he's not extremely fast, his size and talents lend themselves to perhaps being solid but unspectacular in the return game.
Prediction: Backup running back; third down specialist