Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mystery Solved: Roy Helu's Lack of Carries in 2008

Last season, I swear I must have sounded like a broken record asking, begging, and pleading for Roy Helu to get more carries at I-back. The World-Herald finally found an answer. Helu said that in the first part of the season, Helu was hampered by a shoulder injury that kept him from practicing at full strength. Once that healed, Helu was able to work out more, putting on 10 pounds, and giving the coaches confidence to get him on the field more. And boy, did he produce, especially in November.

I figured there had to be a reason why Helu wasn't seeing the field more last season, and I'm glad that it wasn't anything he wasn't doing right. It's unfortunate that the injury status wasn't disclosed until now, but it seems anymore that injury updates are becoming more and more unreliable throughout college football. (And will Bill Snyder back at Kansas State, that's not getting better either!)

This also tends to ease my concerns about Helu putting on 15 more pounds in winter conditioning. Last fall, Helu played at 198 pounds at the start of the season, then bumped up to 208 later in the season. But Helu at 222? Is that too much? Initial reports are positive; he set a personal record for his sprint time. Bo Pelini, for what it's worth, thinks he's faster and more powerful than last season.

Sounds good to me.

It also sounds like Quentin Castille has also been improving his game, dropping some weight as well. That development has freed up the coaching staff to move Marcus Mendoza to wide receiver, perhaps to fill that slot receiver role that I thought Marlon Lucky could excel at. Mendoza took a few snaps last fall there, and it looks like this might be a permanent change. This could be part of the answer to replacing guys like Nate Swift and Todd Peterson this season.

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