Thursday, April 25, 2019

McKoy’s growth leading to a bigger role

Four hundred seventy-two yards, four touchdowns and an average of 6.5 yards per carry. Not bad for a third-string freshman running back out of Lexington, NC. Kennedy Mckoy made the most of his freshman season and is looking to do the same this year for the Mountaineers. Even if that means a heavier load and a more diverse role.

“I do want to have a hybrid position and that role for our team. Play a little bit of running back, play a little bit of slot. Just trying to get on the field and help my team out in any way.”

Last season McKoy received few opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield but when he did, McKoy proved himself to be an asset, catching nine passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

As WVU’s starting running back Rushel Shell began to battle injuries, McKoy stepped up and became a regular contributor for the Mountaineers, especially after Shell missed three games. Even when Shell returned from injury, McKoy’s production did not slow down. As his hard work early in the season began to pay off, and to some unfortunate circumstances, McKoy earned himself two starts against Big 12 foes Texas and Oklahoma. McKoy flourished in the open field using his shiftiness and size to shed defenders, but one season of production isn’t a call to relax.

It is no secret the Mountaineer backfield has a lot to offer on offense, led by preseason All-Big12 running back Justin Crawford. With so much talent and competition in the WVU backfield, running backs coach Tony Dews can see the edge in his running backs.

“It’s been good, again, because it’s a lot of competition. No one gets comfortable and thinks ‘it’s my spot’ or ‘it’s my job’. Again, they continue to support each other, yet they’re competing.” Dews said.

And that mentality of feeling like your job is not secure is resonating in McKoy’s mind.

“There are a lot of us and we are all looking to help the team. Whichever number coach calls out, we are all rooting for each other.” McKoy told reporters.

The competition and support is keeping the ‘next man up’ mindset relevant around Mountaineer camp.

“If we can get a rotation going early in the season and get guys playing, then I think that helps us, as you saw last year, with the depth. As we get into the season, if a guy happens to get dinged up and you’ve got someone who’s played quality reps and then the other thing is the more guys you can play.” Coach Dews said.

The ‘next man up’ mentality is also showing the maturity of Mckoy, as him and running back Tevin Bush have been working together. To not only share tips but to also help prepare the running back for his freshman season.

“We complement each other well. We are always pushing each other; always in the film room trying to learn and get better with our routes.”

Looking forward to an expanded role this season and the closer it gets to week one, the harder it is to believe McKoy will just be the second-string to Crawford this season.



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