Monday, June 22, 2009

Jahvid Best: the nation's best running back?

An old favorite of Stiles Points is back - "Five Good Questions with . . . "...with college football coming on fast, Jonathan Okanes of The Oakland Tribune was kind enough to respond about one of the best secret weapons in college football - Cal running back Jahvid Best...Okanes covers the Golden Bears for The Trib...I want to thank him for taking the time to respond...

Jahvid Best File
Junior, Tailback, 5'10", 195 lbs.
Hometown - Vallejo, CA
2008 - 194 carries, 1,580 yards, 15 TDs
Best game - Dec 6, 2008 vs. Washington - 19 carries/311 yards/4 TDs/84-yard TD run

2008 - Led the Pac-10 and ranked third in the country in rushing, averaging 131.67 ypg ... his 8.1 yards per carry was the best of any player in the FBS with at least 125 rushes on the year, as well as a school record

Q1. Cal has had some strong running backs over the past few years, such as J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch, how does Best compare to those backs?
A. The other backs don't have the flat-out breakway speed that Best does. Lynch was a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism. Best certainly doesn't have the ability to bruise defenses like Lynch did. But none of the other backs are a threat to go the distance as much as Best.

Q2. What are Best's strengths? His weaknesses?
A. His strenghs definitely lie in his speed. Get him in space and it will almost always be a big play. He also can make defenders miss in the open field. His weakness so far has been durability. He missed the final two games of his freshman season with an injury and missed one game and parts of a few others last year with an assortment of ailments.

Q3. How is Best off the field? Does he have an attitude? Is he a team leader?
A. Best has a terrific attitude off the field. He's very humble and always prefers talking about his teammates more than himself. He's not particularly outgoing, but he has said he wants to be more of a leader this season.

Q4. What does Best have to do in order to get the attention of the east coast sports writers?
A. Cal won't be on national TV much, so it will be hard for him. The biggest thing will be if Cal has a good year and beats USC.

Q5. What are your predictions for Best this coming season?
A. Best is out to prove he can stay healthy. If he does, I think he'll lead the nation in rushing. But the Heisman talk is pretty unrealistic. The three finalists from last year are back and rarely does a West Coast player not on USC get much consideration.

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