2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Too many carries? With Ball, it’s worth watching

Published: June 4, 2013, 11:05 am, by Paul Klee

After watching the Broncos OTAs on Monday, I wrote a column about rookie running back Montee Ball. He was a standout, and when Peyton Manning likes you, you have a chance.

“We are going to put him in there and make you a contributor this year,” Manning said of Ball.

I also tend to think Manning’s comment was premeditated and a subtle reminder to any running backs who might be in Miami — and not participating in OTAs at Dove Valley — that there is new, fresh competition in the backfield.

But back to Ball. When the Broncos selected Montee Ball in the NFL draft — ahead of Alabama’s Eddie Lacy — one of the questions was whether Ball endured too much of a workload at the college level.

Ball had 356 carries as a college senior.

Lacy had 355 carries… total… in college.

Ball’s extraordinary usage in college was sometimes considered a negative, at least in regards to his draft stock. Won’t his body wear down? That was a common concern. I tend to view it as (mostly) a good thing, in that Ball has shown to be durable.

Anyway, let’s take it a step further and include Ball’s carries in high school. The numbers are way up there.

At Wentzville Timberland High in Missouri, he had 127 carries as a freshman, 297 as a sophomore, 358 as a junior and 213 as a senior. That’s 995 carries over four years.

At Wisconsin, he had 98 carries as a freshman, 163 as a sophomore, 307 as a junior and 356 as a senior. That’s 924 over four years.

As you can see, Ball has gotten some serious work in his football career. How he holds up at the NFL level should be a worthwhile case study.

Twitter: @Klee_Gazette