An A-List Of B-Backs

Aug 17, 2013

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Broderick Snoddy gave ’em a dose of what they’ve been looking for Saturday morning, when he took off as if shot out of a cannon.

He wrote the signature play in Bobby Dodd Stadium in wooshing untouched up the middle on a 61-yard touchdown gallop. This was in Georgia Tech’s second fall scrimmage and not a game, so the ghosts of B-backs past were not exactly summoned. But at least their top-end speed was recalled as “fall camp” closed.

Perhaps Tech was spoiled at the B-back position in the first three versions of head coach Paul Johnson’s offense. Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 1,395 yards in 2008 and again in ’09, and Anthony Allen followed with 1,316 in ’10.

Dwyer and Allen were both bruisers, yet each – especially Dwyer – proved capable of busting an occasional long run from the Yellow Jackets’ fullback position. That’s quite a component to have in that spot, and one Tech has been a tad shy on the past couple falls.

Don’t mistake that to say that the Jackets didn’t get production out of returning B-backs Zach Laskey and David Sims. They combined for 1,309 yards from the spot in 2012 even though Sims battled injuries the first two-thirds of the season.

And while Laskey led Tech with 697 rushing yards aggregated through a sterling 5.2-yard per carry average, the Jackets’ afterburners were on the flanks, in the A-backs.

Enter Snoddy, the redshirt sophomore sprinter from Carrollton.

At 5-feet-9 and about 190 pounds, he doesn’t have the heft of Laskey (6-1, 214) or Sims (6-feet, 220), but he packs a whole bunch of haul.

Last winter/spring, he kept breaking the school 60-meter dash record (6.75 seconds) after joining the track team in January. He was every bit the sprinter on that play.

“It was a right [dive] play, 12,” Snoddy said. “I don’t really think [anyone touched him]. I just ran through and I saw a little seam, and went off a cutback. Shaq Mason, Bryan Chamberlain and Jay Finch [had key blocks].”

Coaches hope Snoddy can add a regular high-speed element to a B-back position where four players, including Matt Connors, have a real shot at playing legitimate minutes.

There wasn’t much committee work at B-back in the days of Dwyer and Allen, but it’s a near certainty that the Jackets will deploy a village of them this fall.

“We all bring certain attributes to the position,” Laskey said. “Today, Broderick had a nice run up the middle. David is a good, balanced back. Every day the competition is great. We’re pushing each other. We all want to play so we’re all out there busting it 100 percent.”

Indeed, Johnson wasn’t kidding a week earlier when after Tech’s first scrimmage he said that Sims had a good day, “and he needed to; he’s fighting for his job.”

That’s a good thing, a sign there are options available – and not just in the way these lads run the ball. Snoddy also took in a short past from Justin Thomas and turned it upfield to gain 39. “It was supposed to be a screen, and I got bumped off my route,” Snoddy said. “I kind of ended up in the flat hoping he saw me open.”

Thomas, fleeing pressure as if on fire, saw Snoddy and threw.

The gaggle of B-backs is pushing each other. They’re pulling one other along, too.

Snoddy was discouraged early in the scrimmage after some less-than-stellar moments working behind the second offensive line. Sims picked him up.

“I was getting knocked off track a little bit. I came out and ran into David, and he said, ‘Just stay focused and stay on track; you’re going to get your chance,’ ” he recalled Sims saying. “With that pep talk, I just started trusting and I busted one open [behind the starting line].”

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