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Villanova Football Preview 2014: Running Backs

This is one area that 'Nova fans don't need to be worried about.

CAA Football

Coach Darrius Smith will enter his seventh season on the Main Line, having already seen two 1,000 yard rushes come through the ranks. Better yet, he still has one of them on his roster, and plenty of depth to be relied on.

Kevin Monangai rushed for 1,210 yards two seasons ago before suffering an odd down year last season as he finished with just 643 yards. To be fair, defenses began to key in on Monangai's power run game, which opened up the outside for John Robertson to take advantage of (which for those of you who were under a rock last year, he did take advantage).

Monangai isn't alone though, and there are plenty of bodies that can be deployed in the backfield

Projected Depth Chart

Player Class Height Weight
Kevin Monangai SR 5'8" 209 lbs
Austin Medley SR 5'11" 203 lbs
Gary Underwood JR 5'11" 214 lbs
Javon White JR 5'11" 193 lbs

Running Back

If you follow Kevin Monangai in the offseason, you know he's a driven individual, and after what was surely a disappointing junior season to him I'd expect to see him come back with a vengeance and return to all-conference form. Along with being the lead ball carrier, he's also the power back in the offense, and enters the season 9th on the all-time rushing yardage list.

Austin Medley is the speed back and biggest returner playmaker outside of John Robertson. Medley tallied 54 carries for 310 yards last season (5.7 ypc) and a touchdown. He's always played understudy to Kevin Monangai since they arrived on campus, but he's a vital part of the 'Nova attack.

Javon White has spent most of his career thus far as the primary kick returner, though he carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards last year. White is blazing fast, though he's yet to take a kick back for a touchdown. Could this be the year he breaks through?

The 'Cats brought in a single freshmen running back, Matt Gudzak, who will likely spend this year on the sidelines judging by the amount of experience at Sam Venuto's disposal.

H-Back

Not a clearly defined position on the Villanova roster, but it's likely what most hardcore fans would peg Gary Underwood as. Underwood came to Villanova having spent the majority of his high school career as a run-first quarterback, but has transitioned nicely to this role. Last season he didn't carry the ball much, but caught 10 passes for 129 yards and 3 touchdowns. Andy Talley isn't afraid to call the 'special' play for him either, and Underwood when 2-3 on passes last season, finishing with one touchdown and one interception.