|Bell hurdles Boise defender with ease.|
COurtesy of GREGORY SHAMUS/GETTY IMAGES
By Blain Bradley
After his monster game against Boise State (210 yards, 2 touchdowns, 44 carries), Le'Veon Bell has been gaining national attention as a Heisman hopeful. While it was well deserved hype, it was premature as well. The Spartans season is long and only gets harder from this point.
Realistically Bell won't carry the ball 40 times a game. It's just not possible due to the physical beating a running back takes during a season. Spartan fans should look for Bell to be a 20 to 25 carry back. He has an excellent frame and pure athleticism (this was evident when Bell hurdled a Boise defender). His 210 yards were impressive, however it's more impressive that he averaged 4.7 yards a carry.
Bell showed breakaway capability. He had a 35 yard rush that showcased his open field speed and vision. He possesses the skills of a small framed back and the power of a big body back. It's a deadly combination. Bell showed great scoring ability as well. He scored both touchdowns for the Spartans. His receiving numbers weren't too bad either (6 receptions, 55 yards). Bell draws comparisons to Saint Louis Rams running back Stephen Jackson. He has a low center of gravity for such a big back. This helps him get through small gaps and create big plays.
What really makes Bell special is his ability to be a pure leader. He took the team on his back and carried them to victory. He bailed out Andrew Maxwell, who struggled a little in his first start. He was able to eat up clock on crucial fourth quarter drives. If Bell gets stuck in the backfield he'll fight his way forward for an extra yard.
It's far too early to place Bell amongst top Heisman hopefuls. He certainly is in the top ten right now. Football realists know that he will have to cut his carries down and continue to utilize his big play potential. Bell had a great game against a Boise squad that only returned seven starters in total. The Spartans still have to go up against top caliber teams. Bell will be the leader this season. The Spartans are questionable at quarterback and receiver, however there is no question at running back. Bell is a special player who can lead the Spartans to a successful season.