Again, we're reviewing the Gopher depth charts in anticipation of Spring Practice, and we're also adding in the new commits. First off, thanks for the civility in your comments in the quarterbacks thread. Near the end of the 2009 season I think everyone was exasperated with the performances of Fisch, Weber, and the lack of time given to Gray. There are functional arguments for all options for 2010, and they are well-represented in your comments. Let's give them a chance to succeed in 2010 with new coaching.
Now, onto the fullbacks:
The Starter - Jon Hoese (
Junior Senior) - he had a solid season, with 29 carries for 103 yards and 1 touchdown. It has to be mentioned that he was operating at a disadvantage due to the horrid offensive line play, which often left him blocking D-linemen instead of linebackers. At six foot two, two hundred and thirty-three pounds, he might be a teeny bit small for a FB, but his effectiveness should increase in 2010.
The Others - Nick Rengel, Willie Schneider, Ed Cotton. All freshmen, and I presume, all redshirted because I don't recall them seeing the field.
The Wildcard - Ra'Shede Hageman? This is a shot in the dark, but Hageman has gained 20 pounds from last fall and is now near 290 pounds. Although he is slated for the defensive line, he could be a fine option in goalline and short yardage situations and has obvious experience blocking on offense.
The New Guy(s)? The only incoming RB that could really grow into a FB role is Lamonte Edwards, and I don't think that's why they recruited him. With 3 FBs in the 2009 class, I don't see one incoming outside of walk-ons (which, honestly, is a preferable way to stock the FB position).
Overall grade - B-. The options are not overpowering, and Hoese's ineffectiveness last year was largely due to D-linemen being in his face. Such is the life of a FB. If Hoese and others are able to get free blocking on the second level, Minnesota will be able to break many more 20+ yard rushes in 2010, and sustain more drives.