Debate This! Clearly, Wood > Riddick at Running Back

Grantland-X is a hoot to have on the team. He makes absurd statements and then defends them with vigor. Tommy Rees should start, Riddick will take Wood’s starting spot, etc. It’s really quite enjoyable, the naivete of youth. I love it.

But sadly for him, he has chosen to debate me in this case. Doesn’t bode well.

You see, those statements are absurd because they are, well, absurd. And the argument doesn’t need to be all that complex. G-X tried to paint a picture that said: Cierre Wood Redshirted and Theo Riddick didn’t and therefore Theo > Wood. Forget the recruiting rankings, but yes let’s look at what happened their FROSH YEAR UNDER ANOTHER COACH! We can just ignore production last year, wherever they played, let’s talk about how HARD one guy tried in the off-season, because it was HARDER than the other (though that’s completely unquantifiable). Forget statistics, Theo is in his last year and therefore he will outperform!

Nah, no thanks, G-X. I’ll do just the opposite:

Credit: Diamondback Photo

-Cierre Wood ran for 1,100 on 217 carries. If not for the resurgence of Jonas Gray, Wood would have likely crossed the 1,500 yard mark. That’s production.
-Cierre Wood averaged 5.1 per run. That is SOLID and efficient. TAKE THAT PRODUCTION TO THE BANK BABY!
-Wood was consistent, persistent, and tough.

-Theo Riddick produced 63 yards last year on 14 attempts.
-That’s an average of 4.5 per attempt. That’s not bad, but it’s not 5.1
-He was inconsistent, spotty, and looked uncomfortable. At WR, at PR, and a bit at RB as he got settled.

While Riddick is a great athlete, and this hybrid role they’ve created this year will suit him well, there’s absolutely no evidence to think that he will supplant Wood as the starting RB. To be sure, Wood will share carries with some combination of Riddick and GAIII. But given Theo’s inconsistencies last year, and GAIII’s explosiveness, I might bet on the Atkinson brother to take the #2 spot away from Theo before I guess that Theo will take it from Wood.

It’s true that Riddick wasn’t a full-time RB last year, and his stats in receiving clearly dominate those of Cierre. But we’re talking about a Running Back role here, and that’s the focus, hybrid or not.

I like Theo Riddick – he was my pick last year for a break-out year – but to assert that he’ll steal Wood’s place at the top of the depth chart is just silly. I hope he has a great year, an amazing year! And I hope he goes on to a long and fruitful NFL career. But I just don’t see him beating out ND’s first 1,000-yard rusher since…good lord, it’s been too long.

Cierre Wood will be heavily leaned on this season, and barring injury, he’s the man.

Powered by