WKU Spring Football Preview: Running Backs


Nov 9, 2013; West Point, NY, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers running back Antonio Andrews (5) takes a handoff during the second half against the Army Black Knights at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, two days left in our WKU Spring Football preview leading up to the Red and White Game on Saturday at Houchins Industries L. T. Smith Stadium. Today we will discuss most likely the most talked about and most nostalgic position on the WKU 2014 squad- running back. Lets get this train rolling.

For the first time in eight years, the Hilltoppers will be playing a football game without running backs Antonio Andrews or Bobby Rainey. Now we will pause for a moment to let you wipe those tears away…

Okay lets get back to business. The Tops in 2013 had a small scare earlier in the year as Andrews struggled with ball control early in the year. However, Mr. Andrews never left the top spot as the number one running back. AA2K was the Tops leading return man and teams always knew to plan for him, yet he gave every team trouble every single game.

The 2014 WKU squad is relatively thin at the running back position upon first look. The most experienced and who we here at the WTRT expect to be the number one man is 6 foot 235 pound junior Leon Allen. Allen’s best performance came against rival Kentucky in the first game of the year racking up 92 yards on 10 carries and his first touchdown of the year. Allen finished the season with 72 touches for 357 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and throughout the air he had 22 receptions for 202 yards and a receiving touchdown. Allen is a big back and as well as a power back. He will be useful on short third-downs and in the red zone.

The next Hilltopper running back is redshirt junior Marquis Sumler. Sumler didn’t play in 2013 but in the 2012 season he saw the field nine times, touching the ball 16 times for 59 yards. Expect Sumler to look to up his production on offense in 2014.

Highly touted coming in when he was recruited, redshirt sophomore Anthony Wales appeared in 12 games in the ’13 campaign recording 2 touchdowns on 112 yards off 17 carries. Wales is a smaller running back, standing at 5-10 and tipping the scales at 190 pounds, but will be useful out of the back field and on long yardage situation.

The other two WKU running backs who didn’t see the field last year are Darmontre Warr and Travis LockWarr didn’t see the field because he redshirted and had to sit the season out. Lock is a JUCO transfer who will look to break the depth chart as a 2 or 3 running back.

The Hilltoppers reputation for the longest time is having a powerful running game to set up the pass game (as we expressed in yesterdays article). This year’s Tops team will be much the same. Western will need production out of every one of their running backs especially if they find themselves in the same turnover situation they were in last year. This year will definitely be different with out Rainey and Andrews but knowing what Leon Allen can do-the Hilltoppers are in good hands.

Tomorrow will be the last spring football preview before the 2014 Hilltopper squad takes the field Saturday for the annual Red and White Spring game. We will introduce the 2014 coaching staff lead by head man Jeff Brohm. Until then enjoy the rest of your day from where ever you reside in this great Nation of ours and as always… GO TOPS!