April 23, 2009

Hopkins a speed back in a big back's body

Hal Wasson can be sure of one thing when his Southlake Carroll football team meets Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus Oct. 16 - his players will be ready for Michigan-bound back Stephen Hopkins. That doesn't mean they will stop him, though …



The Dragons couldn't stop Hopkins a year ago. The 6-0, 220-pounder rushed for a season-best 311 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries (13.5 yards per carry) in a Marauder 42-35 loss to Southlake Carroll.



"We got the last laugh but we were definitely licking our wounds," Wasson said. "That's a big, strong, physical running back that blew through our defense like we weren't even there. He was absolutely tremendous."



Watching Hopkins on film, Wasson was struck, of course, by how powerful he was, but his quickness, speed and ability to identify a hole and burst through it, proved far more worrisome.



"With some big backs, all you have to do is get a linebacker to the other side of the hole and you've got them stopped for three or four yards because they take so long to get motoring, but he gets a crack and he takes it to the house," Wasson said.



Hopkins scored touchdowns on runs of 58, 71 and 64 yards, in addition to a one-yard run.



"He's almost like a speed back in a big back's body," Wasson said.



That's why Wasson believes Hopkins will be a natural fit at Michigan even though the Wolverines run a spread offense. Senior Brandon Minor proved in the second half of the 2008 season that a tailback doesn't have to be 5-10, 190 pounds with a 4.4 40-yard dash to take advantage of spread formation.



"I think he's versatile enough that he can operate out of a one-back set, lined up next to the quarterback and still do what makes him special," Wasson said. "There is a saying - great running backs are great running backs - and I believe that. He's the whole package and he'll adjust to whatever offense he plays in."



The Dragons have another five months to prepare for Marcus but that might not be enough time to slow him down.



"The key is not to let him get a head of steam because once he starts motoring there is no stopping him," Wasson said. "He's physical and you have to bring the physical to him. You can't try to arm-tackle him or dive at his feet. You have to hit him with the force that he's going to hit you with.



"But I have to give him credit - he didn't wear down against us. He was the kind of kid that got stronger as the game developed even though he was taking our best.



"I know our kids will be looking forward to that one. We're not used to giving up 300 yards to one kid. [Editor's Note: Only four other backs rushed for 100 yards or more in 10 games against Carroll]. It will be a highly-anticipated matchup. Our defenders will be salivating."








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cellspacing="2">
style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-weight: bold;">Opponent

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">Att.

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">Yards

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">TDs

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-weight: bold; text-align: center;">Avg.

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);">style="font-weight: bold;">Totals

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">275

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">1,689

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">22

style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(204, 204, 204); text-align: center; font-weight: bold;">6.1


style="vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(0, 40, 79);">Rushing
vs. Grapevine

14

120

3

8.6

at Plano West

30

170

2

5.7

vs. Keller Fossil Ridge

25

208

3

8.3

at Katy

19

48

0

2.5

at Tyler Lee

34

118

0

3.5

at Lewisville

29

212

4

7.3

vs. Southlake Carroll

23

311

4

13.5

at Coppell

35

141

2

4.0

vs. Flower Mound

29

202

3

7.0

vs. Hebron

25

108

1

4.3

vs. Euless Trinity

12

51

0

4.3











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