Well folks, we are knocking on the door of what is typically football season.
For a time a of year that is normally filled with hype videos and passionate fan tweets, this year is overly different.
As we wait to see if football will be played in the Bluegrass, it seems like their will at least be some football played this fall as NFL teams can have 80 players report to training camp starting this week. And this season is a big one for UK legend Benny Snell.
The Steelers running back room has gotten crowded. With James Conner, Anthony McFarland, and Jaylen Samuels, Snell is looking to break through the pack and prove himself as a featured back in this Steelers offense.
In his first year in Pittsburgh, Snell carried the ball 108 times for 426 yards, and two scores, giving him a 3.9 yards per carry average.
Definitely not numbers that are screaming for him to touch the ball every possession, but respectable nonetheless, especially considering the injury that cost him several games in the middle of the season.
We did get to see flashes of what us UK fans were accustomed to seeing him do in the blue and white. He had two games in the later half of the season over 90 yards and over 4.7 ypc, showed off great patience for holes to open up, and used that quick burst to power through defenders but also keep those legs churning to pick up extra yards. He also showed off some outside speed and growth as a receiver in the pass game.
“Benny wants to be a great player,” running backs coach Eddie Faulkner told DKPittsburghSports.com this past fall. “He’s chomping at the bit to get out there, but he also understands that everybody has a skill set in that room, everybody brings something different to the table. And he brings something to the table. I mean, I think you saw that start to show up on Sunday night. He’s continued to work to gain the trust of the coaches and to gain the trust of myself, and Sunday was a big step in it … The future is very, very bright for that young man. I think he’s going to be a really good football player.”
With these words from Faulkner, you can see that there is some high praise from the coaching staff regarding his performance, and even his future in the league.
James Conner is going into his final year of his rookie contract this season, so with a good play from Snell, we could be seeing that #24 jersey become a staple on the field in Pittsburgh for years to come.