Kentucky’s Snell ready to carry heavier workload in backfield
Published 5:09 pm Monday, August 7, 2017
By Keith Taylor
LEXINGTON — Benny Snell hasn’t reached his limit as a running back. In his mind, there are no limitations to achieving perfection.
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“I don’t know my limit and I haven’t reached that limit yet,” Snell said. “I don’t plan to (reach my limit) in the future at all. Whatever is needed of me on offense, I’m going to make happen. I’m going to do my job, no matter what that is, pitch and run, passing blocking or catching the ball.”
Snell set six records during his freshman campaign with the Wildcats and rushed for 1,091 yards, the most for a first-year player in school history. He also had 13 rushing touchdowns and established himself as the team’s top threat in the backfield by the end of the season and is among for higher achievements going into his sophomore season.
That was just the beginning of what Snell hopes results in a successful career in the backfield and promises bigger and better results starting with Kentucky’s season opener at Southern Mississippi on Sept. 2.
“I definitely want to take a big step in the running game, more than I did last year,” Snell said.
After standing in the shadows of Boom Williams during his first season with the Wildcats, Snell is expected to take on a bigger role and carry a heavier workload and is ready for the challenge. Snell is willing to do whatever it takes, even if it means taking on more carries.
“I definitely want to take on a bigger role,” Snell said. “I feel like my body is physically better than it was last year. I was taking 30 carries last year, so I’m taking 50 this year. When it comes down to the fourth-and-one, the third-and-two, the short yards, there’s nobody I would want having the ball other than me. I feel like I can physically get those yards.”
Known as a power runner who bounces off tackles in the middle of the field, Snell has been working on other phases of the running game. Snell admits that hitting the corners isn’t as enjoyable as running over defensive linemen, he’s been working on improving his overall skill set.
“I’m been working on my footwork and hitting the sideline (runs) more effectively,” Snell said. “I’m trying to make people miss more in the open field and I’ve been working on getting quicker (in the open field). It’s not as fun, because I enjoy running over people, for sure, but my second thing is to make somebody miss.”
Snell credits Kentucky’s offensive line for his achievements last year and is expecting bigger and better things this season.
“Last year, without a doubt, I felt like we had the best offensive line in the country,” Snell said. “”Coming into (this season), I’m saying the same thing. We’re going tom have the best offensive line in the country. Those guys do a great job of getting to the second level and creating lanes and just opening things up for the running backs so we can run through (them). They’re a great group of guys and they don’t get the credit they deserve.”
One of those offensive linemen, Landon Young, also a sophomore, wasn’t surprised by Snell’s emergence as one of the top freshman running backs in the Southeastern Conference last season.
“He’s a freak athlete,” Young said. “Every single run, he’s running like he’s not going to play football the next night. He does not like getting hit and it definitely makes him more aggressive and more productive, because he always expects the best out of himself. “
Overall, Snell said the Wildcats are much improved and are capable of reaching even greater heights than last year’s squad that finished 7-6 and reached the postseason for the first time in six years.
“We have more weapons, more power that we’re bringing to the games now,” Snell said. “We’re definitely ready.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.email@example.com or on twitter @keithtaylor21.