Fall Camp Preview: Running Backs
NAU football will scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Walkup Skydome at 4 p.m.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona run game may have lost a familiar face in the backfield, but running backs coach Jimmy Beal is confident that his returners have what it takes to keep NAU at a high level in the league.
Coach Beal has graduated the most prominent four-year running back in NAU history in Zach Bauman, but the Lumberjacks have a very talented roster led by junior Casey Jahn.
"We always preach about standard of play, and Zach set that bar for us," said Beal. "Casey is right behind him and following in to that role."
Jahn, a junior, is the only upperclassmen in the unit. He steps into the mentor role, as the Lumberjacks house five freshmen to fill the six-man deep running back core. It won't be easy for Jahn to replace Bauman, but he's ready for the challenge.
"Zach taught me a lot," said Jahn. "Being with him the last two years, he taught me how to prepare for a game from watching film and how to evaluate a defense. Another important thing he taught me was to be humble because he was a really humble guy and he was the star of our team."
Jahn appeared in all 12 games last year as a backup to Bauman. In a limited role, he was still able to garner 56 carries for 212 yards. He will now step into the starting role after learning from Bauman.
"I've definitely taken on a leadership role because we have a ton of young guys," Jahn said. "I'm trying to help these guys out, help integrate them into our system and learn the plays. They're all very talented and they all have a bright future at NAU."
Backup for Jahn this season will be redshirt freshman Corbin Jountti. The other five newcomers are Tyler Brown, Aaryn Dorsett, Marquice Paige, and Kelly Wood. All are very talented with a good chance of earning playing time early.
"It's all about competing and finding that next guy to step up," said Beal. "The younger guys are pushing Casey each day, so it definitely hasn't been easy for him."