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Encyclopedia > Running back
P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005.Photo by Jamie Howell
P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005.
Photo by Jamie Howell

A running back (RB) is the position of a player on an American or Canadian football team who usually lines up in the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Prince Ahadzie Daniels, Jr. ... The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly known as Georgia Tech, is a public, coeducational research university, part of the University System of Georgia, and located in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia, Metz, France and Singapore. ... Diagram of a Canadian football field. ... Part of the confusion with American Football position names is that they are based on the role the player normally has in the offense, rather than necessarily his position at the start of the play. ... A play in American football is a set of player and ball movements to either advance the ball (for offensive plays) or prevent the advancement of the ball (for defensive plays). ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ... In American football, rushing has two different meanings. ... This article is about a type of football play. ... In American football, blocking occurs when one player obstructs another players path with his body. ...


There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback (HB for short, also called a tailback) or a fullback (FB). While a fullback is technically a running back, in modern parlance the terms "running back" and "RB" are frequently used to refer only to halfbacks. P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005. ... P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005. ...


They runs the ball.

Contents

Halfback/tailback

The halfback or tailback position is one of the more glamorous positions on the field, as it is often integral in both the passing and running attack. A well-rounded halfback is commonly viewed as a requirement for a team's success. He is responsible for carrying the ball on the majority of running plays, and may frequently be used as a receiver on short passing plays. In today's game, an effective halfback must have a superior blend of both quickness and agility as a runner, as well as sure hands and shrewd vision upfield as a receiver. More and more quarterbacks depend on halfbacks as a dump-off receiver when primary targets downfield are covered. Occasionally, they line up as additional wide receivers. When not serving either of these functions, the primary responsibility of a halfback is to aid the offensive linemen in blocking, either to protect the quarterback or another player carrying the football. On some rare occasions, running backs are used to pass the ball on a halfback option play or halfback pass. Jerry Rice holds many career records for wide receivers in the National Football League. ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ... The Halfback option play is an unorthodox play (often called a trick play) in American football. ...


No position in American football can perform his duties successfully without the help of other players. Like the wide receiver, who generally cannot make big plays without the quarterback passing to him (with the exception of the end-around play), the running back nearly always needs good blocking from the offensive line to successfully gain yardage. Also, a running back will generally have more rushing attempts than a receiver will have receptions, which is mainly because a receiver will average 10 to 20 yards per reception, while running backs will average 5 yards on a good run. An End Around was a World War Two submarine attack tactic. ...


Running backs tend to benefit greatly from the blocking of the offensive lineman, so much so that a below-average running back can perform superbly with a deft group of blockers.


Note that the difference between halfback and tailback is simply the position of the player in the team's offensive formation. The halfback lines up approximately half-way between the line of scrimmage and the fullback (similarly, quarterbacks line up a quarter of the distance between the line of scrimmage and the fullback). Because the halfback is usually the team's main ball carrier (while the fullback is primarily a blocker), many coaches see fit to position the halfback behind the fullback (at the "tail end" of the formation). In this case, the halfback becomes a tailback.


Fullback

In most college and professional football schemes, fullbacks carry the ball infrequently. Currently, they are primarily used to aid the offensive linemen in blocking. On most running plays, the fullback leads the halfback, attempting to block potential tacklers before they reach the ball carrier. Also, fullbacks are sometimes used in passing plays, although they typically protect the quarterback. Fullbacks are technically running backs, but today the term is usually used in referring to the halfback or tailback. Although fullbacks currently are rarely used as ball carriers, there was once a time when they ran the ball as frequently as running backs. In American football, a fullback (FB) is a position in the offensive backfield. ...


In high school football, where the offenses are simpler and player sizes vary greatly, fullbacks are still frequently used as ball carriers. In many high school and in some college football scheme known as the "Triple Option," the fullback is considered a primary ballcarrier for this offense. The fullback in this particular offense plays a unique role by establishing an inside running threat during the a triple option. Triple Option scheme fullbacks require excellent ballcarrying skills and employ a tenacious running style, but often lack the receiving skills of their counterparts in other schemes. College teams such as Navy and Air Force have employed the triple option scheme with success.


While in years past the fullback lined up on the field for almost every offensive play, teams often opt to replace the fullback with an additional wide receiver or a tight end in modern football. Fullbacks in the National Football League rarely get to carry or catch the ball since they are used almost exclusively as blockers. Their talent and value to a team is usually judged by the success of the team's halfback or by how many times the team's quarterback is sacked, similar to the way offensive linemen are judged. There have been some exceptions, however. Mike Alstott of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers often carries the ball and is also used as a receiver in short pass situations. Fullbacks are also still used occasionally as rushers on plays when a short gain is needed for a first-down, as they are large and powerful and therefore good for breaking through the line for a short distance. The role of the fullback in professional football was expanded by the modern employment of the "West Coast Offense," where many pass plays originate from the typical two-back (pro-set) formations and flood the field with four or five receivers (including both running backs). The wide receiver (WR) position in American and Canadian football is the pass-catching specialist. ... The tight end (TE) is a position in American football on the offensive team. ... NFL redirects here. ... Michael Joseph Alstott, nicknamed The A-Train, (born December 21, 1973, Joliet, Illinois), is an American football player who plays fullback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. ... City Tampa, Florida Other nicknames The Bucs, Pewter Pirates Team colors Buccaneer Red, Black, Pewter, and Orange Head Coach Jon Gruden Owner Malcolm Glazer General manager Bruce Allen Mascot Captain Fear League/Conference affiliations National Football League (1976–present) American Football Conference (1976) AFC West (1976) National Football Conference (1977...


Characteristics of a running back

Height and weight

There is a great diversity in those who play at the running back position. At one extreme are smaller, agile players, such as Barry Sanders, who stood at only 5'8". These fast, elusive running backs are usually called "scat backs". Other examples of scat backs include Thurman Thomas, Reggie Bush, Kevin Faulk, Garrett Wolfe, Brian Westbrook, Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew (note however that Jones-Drew is also known for his powerful running style in addition to his speed, despite his 5'7" height). Barry Sanders (born July 16, 1968)) is a Hall of Fame and Heisman Trophy winning American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the NFL. Sanders is best known for being among the most prolific running backs in NFL history, and left the... Not to be confused with explosives forensic expert Thomas Thurman. ... Reginald Reggie Bush, birth name: Reginald Alfred Bush II (born May 2, 1985 in San Diego, California), nicknamed The Human Highlight Reel and The President, alluding to President Bush, is an American football player who plays for the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. He has played running back/tailback... Kevin Troy Faulk (born June 5, 1976 in Lafayette, Louisiana) is the reserve halfback for the New England Patriots. ... Garrett Wolfe (born August 17, 1984 in Chicago, Illinois) is a running back for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. ... For the defensive back, see Bryant Westbrook. ... Darren Lee Sproles (born June 20, 1983 in Waterloo, Iowa) is an American football running back and return specialist for the San Diego Chargers. ... Maurice Christopher Drew (born March 23, 1985 in Antioch, California) is a current American football running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. ...


At the other extreme are bigger, stronger players, such as Jerome Bettis (nicknamed "The Bus") who at his retirement in 2006 weighed almost 260 lbs (118 kg). Other examples of power backs include Larry Csonka, Earl Campbell, Franco Harris,Christian Okoye,Brandon Jacobs, Najeh Davenport, Ron Dayne, T.J. Duckett, Jamal Lewis, Musa Smith, Cedric Benson and Ricky Williams. This kind of running back is referred to as a "power back" because they rely on their strength and size to break through defenders. They are usually (but not always) slow compared to most NFL players, and usually do not run to the outside instead opting to run through the line. They must also be able to protect the ball well. Jerome Abram Bettis, nicknamed The Bus (born February 16, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan), is a former American football halfback for the NFLs Los Angeles/St. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... This article is about the American football player. ... Franco Harris (b. ... Christian The Nigerian Nightmare Okoye is a former American Football running back for the Kansas City Chiefs (1987-1992). ... Brandon Jacobs (born July 6, 1982 in Houma, Louisiana) is a running back for the New York Giants of the National Football League. ... Najeh Trenadious Monté Davenport (born February 8, 1979 in Raleigh, North Carolina) is an American football running back who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. ... Ron Dayne (born March 14, 1978 in Berlin, New Jersey) is an American football running back for the Houston Texans of the NFL. He is best known for holding the NCAA record for career rushing yards and a memorable performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving in 2005 as a... TJ Duckett is an American football player who plays for the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. His position is running back, and he has spent his whole career so far with Atlanta. ... Jamal Lafitte Lewis (born August 26, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American football running back in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns. ... Musa Smith is a running back for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. He went to the University of Georgia. ... Cedric Myron Benson (born December 28, 1982 in Midland, Texas) is an American football running back. ... Errick Lynne Williams, Jr. ...


Several successful running backs fall somewhere between these extremes, combining speed with power, such as Walter Payton, OJ Simpson, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Brown, Marcus Allen, Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Kevin Jones, Ronnie Brown, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson . Walter Jerry Payton (July 25, 1954 – November 1, 1999) was an American football player, who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. ... O.J. Simpsons mugshot Orenthal James Simpson (born July 9, 1947 in San Francisco, California), publicly known by the initials O.J., and nicknamed The Juice, is a Hall of Fame former college and professional football player and film actor. ... Emmitt James Smith III (born May 15, 1969 in Pensacola, Florida) is a former American football player, who played for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. ... Curtis Martin is a former American football running back. ... LaDainian Tomlinson (born June 23, 1979) is an American football player who currently plays running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League. ... Jim Brown (born February 17, 1936) is an American former professional football player who has also made his mark as an actor and social activist. ... Marcus LeMarr Allen (born March 26, 1960 in San Diego, California) is a former American football player, and until recently affiliated with CBS as a game analyst. ... Shaun Edward Alexander (born August 30, 1977 in Florence, Kentucky) is an American football player in the National Football League. ... Edgerrin Tyree James (born August 1, 1978 in Immokalee, Florida), nicknamed “The Edge” or just “Edge”, is an American football player who currently plays running back for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. // James was recruited out of Floridas Immokalee High School by the University of Miami. ... Clinton Earl Portis (born September 1, 1981 in Laurel, Mississippi) is an American football running back. ... Kevin Jones (born August 21, 1982 in Chester, Pennsylvania) is a football player for the Detroit Lions. ... Ronnie BrownSuck balls fuc (born December 12, 1981 in Rome, Georgia) is an American football running back who currently plays for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. ... Adrian Peterson may refer to: Adrian L. Peterson (b. ... For Carolina Panthers American football fullback, see Steven Jackson (fullback). ... Larry Fitzgerald Johnson, Jr. ...


Receiving ability

In addition to skill at running the ball, some running backs in the National Football League are known for their prowess at catching passes. The role of the running back as a receiver out of the backfield has expanded greatly in the NFL over the years, and a versatile running back who provides his team good running and pass-catching abilities is highly valued. On passing plays, a running back will often run a safe route, such as a hook, creating a safe target for a quarterback to throw to if all other receivers are covered. The increase in demand for running backs with good receiving abilities can be attributed to the rise in popularity of the West Coast offense and its variants, which often requires its running backs to catch passes on a regular basis. Currently there are two running backs on the NFL's list of all-time top 20 leading pass catchers, fullback Larry Centers and halfback Marshall Faulk. A good example of a dual threat running and pass catching running back is the Philadelphia Eagles' Brian Westbrook; in 2006, Westbrook rushed for 1,217 yards on 240 carries and caught only 77 passes for a stellar 699 yards, giving him 1,916 total yards from the line of scrimmage, and he set a career-postseason rushing record, rushing for 141 yards on twenty carries against the New York Giants, including a 49 yard touchdown. NFL redirects here. ... In American football, West Coast Offense (WCO) is one of two similar but distinct offensive-strategic-systems of play: (A) the Air Coryell system; or (B) more commonly the pass play system popularized by Bill Walsh. ... Larry Eugene Centers, Sr. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Team colors Midnight Green, Black, White, and Silver Head Coach Andy Reid Owner Jeffrey Lurie General manager Tom Heckert (official) Andy Reid (de facto) Fight song Fly, Eagles Fly Mascot Swoop League/Conference affiliations National Football League (1933–present) Eastern Division (1933-1949) American Conference (1950-1952... For the defensive back, see Bryant Westbrook. ...


Some teams have a running back known as the "third down back", who is more skilled at catching passes and/or better at pass blocking and "picking up the blitz" than the other backs, and thus is often put in the game in third down and long situations where a pass is needed to pick up a first down. He can also be used to fool the defense by making them think he is being put into the game for a pass play, when the play is actually a run.


Blocking

Running backs are also required to help the offensive line in passing situations, and, in the case of the full back, running plays. Running backs will often block blitzing linebackers or safeties on passing plays when the offensive line is occupied with the defensive linemen. On running plays, the fullback will often attempt to tear a hole in the offensive line for the running back to run through. Effective blocking backs, such as Lorenzo Neal, are usually key components for a running back's success (as seen in LaDainian Tomlinson's record-breaking season in 2006). Lorenzo LaVonne Neal (born December 27, 1970 in Hanford, California) is an American football fullback that currently plays for the San Diego Chargers. ... LaDainian Tomlinson (born June 23, 1979) is an American football player who currently plays running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League. ...


Goal line backs

Many teams also have a running back designated as a "goal line back" or "short yardage specialist". This running back comes into the game in short yardage situations when the offense needs only 1 or 2 yards to get a first down. They also come into the game when the offense nears the goal-line. Normally when an offense gets inside the 5 yard line they send in their goal-line formation which usually includes 8 blockers, a quarterback, a running back, and a fullback. The closer they are to the goal-line the more likely they are to use this formation. If a certain running back is used often near the goal-line he is called the goal-line back. Short yardage and goal-line backs are Power Backs that are not prone to fumbling. Their job is to get the first down or touchdown by muscling through or pushing a large mass of players that are being blocked without dropping the ball. Look up fumble in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Kick and punt returners

A running back might be called upon to return punts and kickoffs on special teams. Although this is most often done by wide receivers and defensive backs, such as corner backs, (because they are generally the fastest players on the team), some running backs have enough speed and talent to perform this role. The NFL's current all time leading in kickoff return yards (14,014 yards) and punt return yards (4,999) is a running back, Brian Mitchell. He also gained 1,967 rushing yards, 2,336 receiving yards, and 15 fumble return yards, giving him a total of 23,330 all-purpose yards, the second most in NFL history behind Jerry Rice. The Punt kick is one of, if not the most common style of kicking in football games. ... A beginning: the kickoff of the project This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... The wide receiver (WR) position in American and Canadian football is the pass-catching specialist. ... In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players, who take positions directly behind the line of scrimmage. ... Brian Keith Mitchell (born August 18, 1968 in Fort Polk, Louisiana) is a former American football player who played running back for the Washington Redskins (1990-1999), and later the Philadelphia Eagles (2000-2002) and New York Giants (2003). ... Jerry Lee Rice (born October 13, 1962 in Crawford, Mississippi) is a former football wide receiver in the NFL. Rice is widely regarded as among the greatest wide receivers in NFL history, consistently showing exceptional performance and strong work ethic on and off of the field. ...


References


  Results from FactBites:
 
Running back - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1204 words)
In addition to skill at running the ball, some running backs in the NFL are known for their prowess at catching passes.
The increase in demand for running backs with good receiving abilities can be attributed to the rise in popularity of the West Coast offense and its variants, which often requires its running backs to catch passes on a regular basis.
Some teams have a running back known as the "third down back", who is more skilled at catching passes than the starting running back on the team, and thus is often put in the game in third down and long situations where a pass is needed to pick up a first down.
Back Pain, Running and Disc Herniation (1221 words)
Back pain is exceedingly frequent, experienced at some time by up to 80 percent of the general population.
Running on concrete or asphalt increases the stress on the lower back compared to running on wood chips, dirt or a treadmill.
Diagnosis of low back pain is broad and includes systemic diseases (metastatic cancer), kidney stones, and primary spine disease (disc herniation, degenerative arthritis), all of which refer pain to the low back.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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