Running Backs Coach Craig Johnson
June 7, 2017
Q: Shane [Vereen] is the most experienced guy?
A: That is correct. Shane has been around a lot of systems and has been a productive back for a long time. Last year was a tougher year for him because he wasnít able to stay on the field. He had to overcome injuries. Right now, heís working through that. Iíve watched him in the offseason and he is getting back some of his quickness. We have to makes sure that he is ready for the next season.
Q: What about Paul [Perkins] makes you think he can be the guy?
A: What heís shown is that in our system, you need three phases. You have to be able to run the ball. He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people because theyíre going to try you out. I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection. He is continuing to do that. If you could do that, it allows you to be a possible back on all three downs.
Q: Perkins has the quickness to make the first guy miss and turn a loss into a neutral or positive.
A: He really can cut sharp. He puts his foot in the ground and bursts through the hole. I like that. It helps both in the run and in the pass protection. That really helps his versatility.
Q: What is Wayne Gallmanís skillset?
A: Coming from college, he was a very productive runner. Stats donít lie. So far what Iíve seen in practice is that he has been effectively able to run the ball in the runs heís been given. The pass protection, heís coming along in. Heís certainly made a big improvement in the last week or so. Heís been able to catch the ball effectively. Again, as a young back, heís trying to figure it all out. The game is a little too fast for him, like they are for every back right now when theyíre young. The game starts to slow down and heís starting to get it. Iíve seen a couple bursts. I think he will continue to get it in the future.
Q: What is it about Orleans [Darkway] that he hasnít been able to get on the field consistently these past two years?
A: I think the biggest thing is that every time youíve watched him on the field heís been a productive player. Everything you put him in, the simple things like Shane a year ago has been Orleans. He hasnít been able to stay healthy enough to stay on the field. When heís been able to do that, heís been a productive player. Obviously, availability has been an issue. Heís going to work towards that. Right now, when heís been available heís been a good player. Hopefully he will continue to keep that up.
Q: Are you trying to round out his game and use him in different situations?
A: Absolutely. I think any time in our system, specifically, youíre going to have a chance to get your touches in a lot of ways. Obviously, run is the number one way, but you can get it through some of the check downs when the quarterback doesnít have anything down field. Anytime you can help improve the game and keep the chains moving by catching passes and making third down conversions, itís a big help. We are working hard with all of our players, Orleans included.