Ethan Dorsey stood out against St. Francis with 65 yards. Certainly not a particularly noteworthy performance if you have had solid rushing performances all year, but the Dukes have not.
Dorsey never got much action with the ball over the last few years. There’s a good reason for that – he was busy leading the way for Larry McCoy’s ridiculous totals. Ethan was the unsung hero in multi-back sets, helping McCoy find space going through an offensive line that had been referred to as “undersized” and didn’t always block very well.
This is something that Duquesne fans haven’t talked a lot about this year, and I’d forgotten myself until the Sacred Heart preview on GoDuquesne reminded me.
There’s something strange here. The Dukes have, again, an offensive line that could be called undersized. They have, again, an offensive line that has been accused of blocking not particularly well. Indeed, many times the running back gets the ball and the defender is already on top of him.
So with those two issues in hand, with a running game that hasn’t found legs yet, and moreover – with someone on the roster who is experienced in that fullback role – why haven’t we seen multiback sets this year with any regularity? Where is the lead blocker on a few of these running plays?
Just as we sometimes see the running back stay in to block for pass protection, that same back sometimes needs a guide when he taks the hand-off. Ethan Dorsey certainly knows how to do it, since he did it in front of McCoy. Instead, running plays have been mostly reliant on single-back sets.
I’m not saying that I expect the Dukes to line up in a power-I formation and pound the ball a la Jerome Bettis. Nobody really does that any more. But the team isn’t giving up on those rushing plays – shouldn’t they at least give the players the tools that they need to be more effective?