July 17, 2013

Movies I Love: 2013 Running Backs

For the 2013 running back corps, the movie I love is...

If you haven't seen it, you seriously need to.  It's great.

Okay, so in the movie, Megamind is a villain who accidentally upsets the order of things and is essentially forced into the role of hero.  For the 2013 version of Virginia Football, I think we have our own unlikely hero, and that player is [junior] Kevin Parks.

Being good has its perks.

Longtime readers of the blog know that I've been a longtime fan of KP.  An excerpt from Last Summer's Bowling & Burgers...

"I continue to be crazily high on Kevin Parks. In his redshirt freshman season, the guy was able to rack up 709 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns with a mesmerizing blend of speed, burst, and unexpected power. He was wildly productive in high school (10,895 yards and 158 touchdowns, that's over TEN THOUSAND yards and ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FREAKING EIGHT touchdowns -- I never, ever, ever get tired of bringing that up), and is proving to be wildly productive in college, despite the lack of eye-popping measurables of any particular variety. I just love this kid and am unbelievably delighted to have the chance to watch him play for UVA for another three seasons."

KP went on to lead the team in rushing with 765 yards and 5 touchdowns during the dismal 2012 season.  He also added 189 yards on 24 receptions, good for 6th on the team.  KP is an all-purpose, workhorse type of back, and he'll be the focal point of the offense in 2013.  He's the main character of this movie, too small and too slow to be a real hero, but a real hero nonetheless.  He's Megamind to a tee.  And my guess is that he'll save our Metro City this season.

A quick scouting report on KP:
  • Low-slung runner with a low center of gravity
  • Runs with great balance and body control, excels at "slipping through cracks"
  • Accelerates to top speed quickly
  • Lacks elite-level breakaway speed
  • Runs with deceptive power and can break arm tackles, but lacks size to "push the pile"
  • Quick feet pose problems for bigger/slower linebackers
  • Decent hands, but not a natural receiver
  • Follows blockers, reads holes
  • Bellcow type of runner, whose small frame could lead to injury issues
  • Off-the-chart intangibles, work ethic, leadership potential, etc.
In my mind's eye, I see KP as a smaller version of Rudi Johnson.  (This is a compliment to KP, if you weren't sure.)

Want more KP?  Parks is Ready to Rumble

Note: KP has the second-most rushing yards in UVA history after two seasons.  His 1,443 yards rank only behind Wali Lundy's 1,755.  If KP stays healthy, he could really dent the record books here at Virginia.

And speaking of Wali Lundy... that's another decent comparison.  KP's game mirror's Lundy's in a lot of ways.  He's a grinder.

Megamind's "hired muscle" is the alien-fish-in-a-bowl-piloting-a-robot-body Minion.  He's essentially Megamind's sidekick / henchman / toadie / best friend.  UVA football's Minion is [sophomore defensive tackle-turned-fullback] Vincent Croce.

We don't really know much about Croce, other than the fact that he's a defensive tackle who couldn't keep enough weight to actually play DT.  So he has moved to fullback.  It's not the odd fit that you'd imagine, however --- Croce played a lot of tight end at the prep level, so he's not new to blocking.  If he can really embrace the position change and use some of that old school d-line violence in his role as (likely) starting fullback, he could be the best darn sidekick KP could ask for.

Metro Man
If Superman and Elvis had a baby, it'd be Metro Man.  In the movie, he is Megamind's arch-nemesis, but fakes his own death in order to "retire" from being a super hero.  As such, he abandons Metro City.  Pretty obviously, our version of Metro Man is [Liberty's new star running back] Clifton Richardson.


Conceptually, I like the idea of the high road, but I wouldn't be being me if I didn't drive through the mud a little bit and take a few potshots.  This is a fan blog, after all... and lawd knows I'm a passionate fan.  Potshots:

1) Richardson - for all of his talent (and there is a LOT of it) - just couldn't seem to get or stay healthy.  Like a fabergĂ© mack truck.  Like a hard-charging, 6-foot, 225-pound china doll.

2) I hate it when players transfer because of their spot on the depth chart.  Let the testicles descend and fight for your spot, bro.

3) UVA fans like to say that Richardson was our most talented running back.  That maaaay be true... unless you consider toughness and determination as components of "talent," which at the running back position you absolutely can and should.

Add it up, and it's a frustrating situation.  Hate it when good players, potential impact players, transfer away.  But just like Metro Man stepping aside to allow Megamind to be the star, so slinks Clifton Richardson away to Lynchburg to toil in the smalltime with the Liberty Freaking Flames.  KP's Megamind steps forward to defend the city.

Meanwhile, if you think our luck with attrition at the running back position is bad... well... you NEED to check out the last decade-plus of bad luck at Iowa.  The totality of their bad luck is insane.

Hal Stewart / Tighten
Tighten is the super villain of the movie, the rookie super hero turned sociopath, and the main challenge to Megamind's starring role.  So emerges [true freshman] Smoke Mizzell.

I'm not going to say anything about Smoke, other than giving you these and letting you watch them...

So yeah, Smoke is going to play on special teams, hopefully giving us the weapon in the return game we've lacked since Alvin Pearman.  He'll also get plenty of snaps from scrimmage, likely being the primary source of pressure behind KP.  He's going to be good, as a true freshman.  If you need a reason to be excited about this season, make it seeing Smoke's first season in orange and blue... even if he is KP's villain in this movie.

"Is there some kind of nerdy supervillain website where you get Tesla coils and blinky dials?"
  • [junior running back] Khalek Shepherd -- He's fast, I'd say he's sleek (that felt like a fun word to use here), and rumor has it that he has good hands (when his facemask doesn't get in the way --- ziiiiiiiiiing!)  He'll probably open the season as KP's backup, and I bet he gets plenty of carries/touches/targets in 2013.  But the bottom line here is that I think he's the #3 option behind KP and Smoke, even if he's maybe one of the better #3 backs in college football.
  • [redshirt freshman running back] Kye Morgan -- He didn't impress me in the spring game, and is likely destined for bench duty or maybe some special teams work this season.  He's got plenty of time to develop, but 2013 likely isn't his time to shine.
  • [true freshman fullback] Connor Wingo-Reeves -- Probably a redshirt, but he brings the unique skillset of being a fullback all the way, and knowing it, and embracing it.  HERE's what I had to say about him in February.

So there you have it. Our 2013 backs: Megamind.


  1. Give me 20+ carries for KP every game. He's going to be an absolute monster.

  2. Yeah, you definitely have kids.

  3. We rented this movie. Actually pretty damn good.