Thursday, November 17, 2011

Runners - BIG, Follow up

In the last narrative post we talked about using linewomen as running backs.  Specifically we talked about the season when an unnamed coach inserted KJ Scheib and Velma "Boogie" Pickens in the backfield.  Both were big strong line players. 

CheNell "Soho" Tillman-Brooks 
That unnamed coach was Soho.  Soho has played for a variety of teams including the Rage and the always powerful Houston Energy.  She has been coaching the Outlaws since I started covering the team.   

She responded to my post with some background:

Hey Dennis; I was the coach that used KJ at fullback.  Being that she was having her way with folks at lineman, I thought she would give us more of a boost as a blocker at fullback.  

She didn’t let me down either.  In short yardage situations, her number was called a majority of the time.  Her height (5’10”) allowed the running backs to hide behind her … and her power was intimidating!  I had faith in KJ because of her game play and unselfishness.  She scored once and had other opportunities to score more but didn’t have the best of hands; she dropped a few sure thing passes.  

Having her block for Boogie (Velma Pickens) was quite a sight!  Those two rolling towards folks was like watching Mike Tyson fight himself, big hits and someone was bound to walk away sore!  If I had it to do all over again, I would have reverted to the wishbone and used KJ, Boogie, and Bridgette Brown when we needed to bully folks.  And replace Boogie with Shadana (Hurd) when we needed highlight film!

The reference to "wishbone" may be unfamiliar to some of you.  When I started playing football back in the 1950's the standard backfield set-up was the T-formation:  Quarterback over center, a fullback directly behind the Quarterback flanked on either side by halfbacks.  The full back was big and strong while the halfbacks were lighter and faster runners.  The  wishbone was a variation of the T-formation with the halfbacks lined up a step or two farther back than the fullback.  We'll save all the implications of the T-formation, wishbone, and current lineups for a future post. 

For this discussion, it was common for the fullback to be a lead blocker using size and strength to help clear a path for the quicker halfbacks.  In Soho's vision the three power backs would be KJ, Velma, and Bridgette Brown (we featured Bridgette's tackling prowess in previous posts).  When the situation called for speed, she'd insert our star speedster, Shadana Hurd.

Jill Elliott was a fierce competitor.  And she was a big strong
woman, weighing in 300 pound range. 
This discussion of using big players in the backfield led to a more general dialog about "Bein' Big" in women's professional.  Is "big" an asset or detriment? 

Soho's reply is it depends.  More important than the size of the player is the size of the heart and competitive drive.  She mentioned a number of players who out-play bigger opponents.  And some big players who are fierce competitors. 

Soho has a wealth of knowledge and experience in women's professional football, both as coach and player.  We'll have her share more of her insights in a future posting. 

We also have a couple more posts coming on running backs. 

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