2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Ronnie Hillman could bring balance to lopsided Broncos

Published: July 13, 2013, 1:56 pm, by David Ramsey

Air Force fans know all about the skills of Broncos halfback Ronnie Hillman. During Hillman’s too-brief, two-season career at San Diego State,he ripped through the Falcons defense for 363 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He didn’t just pick on Air Force. Hillman gained 3243 yards rushing and scored 36 touchdowns at SDSU.

The Denver Broncos offense looks severely lopsided. The Broncos could become one of the more lethal passing teams in NFL history with Peyton Manning throwing to one of the best collection of receivers in the game. Manning might throw for 50 TDs. Passing dominance is expected.

The surprise could come from Hillman. It’s my expectation that Hillman will deliver a breakout season. He’s fast. He’s bigger and tougher and powerful than you think, packing 195 pounds on his 5-foot-9 frame.

I hear Broncos fans, many of them extremely well informed, talking about Hillman as a 3rd-down back.

I’m talking about him as a every-down back. With defenses frightened of Manning’s arm, Hillman could ramble to 1,300 yards rushing.

I’m biased. I admit it. I was there when Hillman ran through Air Force’s entire defense on a 2010 touchdown run.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun was there, too.

He still remembers, in vivid detail, Hill’s rampage to the end zone. Hillman bolted through the middle of Air Force’s defense in the second quarter and encountered half the Falcons’ roster.

“Four guys literally had great angles,” Calhoun said, “and yet you were reaching. You would be ready to put a face on him, and all of a sudden you’re grabbing air. All of a sudden he’s gone.”

He could get gone again this season for the Broncos.