Benny Snell not worried about teams overloading box to stop him

Benny Snell (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Opponents are overloading defenders near the line of scrimmage to stop Kentucky sophomore running back Benny Snell.

It has worked — to an extent.

He ran 186 times for 1,091 yards — an average of 5.9 yards per carry — and 13 touchdowns last year with a long run of 48 yards. This season he has 523 yards on 126 carries — and average of 4.2 yards per touch — and six touchdowns in six games. He had a career-best 71-yard scoring run in Saturday’s win over Missouri.

“I come into every game with an edge. It doesn’t matter who I play. I have the same edge for every team, every opponent that we play. I have a great line. I have a great set of tight ends as well. I know they can do their job no matter how many people you put in the box trying to stop me,” Snell said.

One thing that doesn’t change is that he seeks out his parents after every game. He heads for a spot in the corner of the end zone where he knows he’ll always find them. After the 40-34 win over Missouri Saturday and his 71-yard run, he spent extra time hugging them both.

“They are in the parent’s section. Every game they come down to see me. I head for there immediately after the game,” the UK sophomore said. “They were excited for that long run for sure.”

Snell said he was impressed with the fans at Saturday’s game even if he did seem to contradict himself with his explanation.

“I was very happy with BBN and the support. I really wanted this game to be like Florida and I was thinking it would be sold out … but it was way more than I expected. I was happy and hope they all come back,” Snell said.

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  1. Great young man.

  2. This team is better than they know yet! It sure will be fun watching them find out! GO CATS!

  3. I know UK has to be able to run the ball to win in the SEC, but they don’t have to let Benny get beat up so bad trying to prove they are dedicated to running the ball. Yes, Benny’s Missouri game average of 5.8 looks good, but when you take out the one run of 71 yards, that drops his average to 2.4 yards per carry on the other 19. That won’t get it. You can’t keep trying the same thing and hoping it will eventually work. Not many backs are big enough to run over 300 lb lineman coming full steam with very little blocking. UK needs to get more creative or greatly improve the blocking in their run game or Benny will end up getting hurt. 2.4 yards per carry will not win many games and you can’t always guarantee a long run will be included in the effort. With the lines poor blocking, I would have to try a fullback in front of Benny and see what happens; especially, on short yardage situations. UK came up short many times on second/third and short when they tried to run the ball. Stats like yards per run and yards per catch are very misleading when you throw in one long run or one long catch. It can make your average much better than it really is.

    1. All that matters is winning. UK won, and Snell got over 100 yards.

  4. Why is it people think we live in a perfect world. People wine and dine regardless and here we are setting 5-1. I take Snell any day and I like the way were at got a bye week to get people healthy and I see a potential 9-3 or 10-2 season.

  5. Statistics can provide reliable measures that can be compared player to player and season to season. An average value always includes the full array of values in the data set, and a higher average demonstrates more effective performance than a lower average. Last year, Boom Williams was Kentucky’s prime ground gainer, carrying the ball 171 times for 1170 yards (6.8 yds/carry). That ranked #20 nationally. In the SEC, only four runners had better averages:

    Derrius Guice LSU (Southeastern) 10 183 1387 7.6
    Damien Harris Alabama (Southeastern) 15 146 1037 7.1
    Nick Fitzgerald Mississippi St. (Southeastern) 17 195 1375 7.1
    Damarea Crockett Missouri (Southeastern) 19 153 1062 6.9

    Last year, Kentucky was blessed to have two running backs in the NCAA Top 200, and Benny Snell was the second with 186 carries for 1091 yards (5.9 yds/carry). That gave Kentucky two powerful runners. I believe have the tandem runners allowed each of them to be more effective than he might have been if carrying the load alone.

    Kentucky is not the only SEC team with multiple running backs in the NCAA top 200.

    Alabama had 3
    Tennessee had 3
    Texas A&M had 3
    Arkansas had 2
    Auburn had 2
    Georgia had 2
    Mississippi State had 2
    Missouri had 2
    LSU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi and Florida had 1 each.
    South Carolina had NONE!!!

    Clearly, the standard for the SEC is two such backs, and some manage 3 in the same season.

    This year, UK has only 1 back in the NCAA top 200, Benny Snell with 523 yards on 126 carries (4.2 yds/carry) which only ranks #178.

    Clearly, Benny Snell is not as effective this season as he was last season. First, Kentucky has not yet found a second running back capable of putting up top 200 type numbers because if they had such a back, they would be running that back and seeing those results. Second, Kentucky’s O-Line has not been getting their job done nearly as well as the 2016 Kentucky O-Line performed.

    Alabama has 3
    Arkansas has 3
    Georgia has 3
    Texas A&M has 3
    Florida has 2
    LSU has 2
    Mississippi State has 2
    Missouri has 2
    Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Auburn have 1
    Vanderbilt has NONE

    Back in August, football pundits said repeatedly that Kentucky needed to find a second and third running back, and through the first 6 games, these players have simply not emerged. Yes, the O-Line issues are real, but until Kentucky’s offense can offer more diversity in its running game, the easier it will be for any opponent to stack its defense to stop the only real running threat that the Cats present, and Benny will be less effective than he otherwise could be.

  6. Benny has 21 carries per game, with is the 10th most in the NCAA, and the next closest SEC runner is John Kelly (Tennessee) at 19.4 carries per game. Last year, Boom carried it 13.2 times per game and Benny 14.3 times per game, which ranked 102nd and 78th, respectively.

    Benny is being over worked, and under paid!!!

    1. King is an emerging back, and I believe a good back, a skat back that can break one anytime he gets a carry. He got his share of the load against Mizzou for sure. UK also, per the coaching staff, have capable RB’s on the bench that will eventually get their shot. There are six games to go, let’s see what happens. The problem with the UK running attack right now, IMO, is a beat up and under achieving Oline, with musical chairs at the Center position. Losing Cole at LT before the start of their season really set this team back big time in their offensive line rotation too. That said, UK is still getting it done in the win /loss column, and I am a very happy camper right now. Benny is a power back that gets stronger as the game progresses. Give him the rock, and let him go get it done. The chance of injury potential is always there, but UK has no choice but to keep feeding the big tailback when tough yards are needed.

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