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Camp Is A Full-Contact Lesson For Roy Helu

Posted by Brian Tinsman on August 16, 2011 – 5:13 pm

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One of my favorite football cliches, is that ‘football is a game of adjustments.’

It’s not the fact that it’s over-used that makes me laugh, or the fact that it’s a rather obvious statement.  It’s the fact that whoever is answering the question, rarely articulates what the adjustment was.

Except for Redskins rookie running back, Roy Helu.

Helu put up gaudy numbers at Nebraska as a part of the fabled Huskers rushing attack.  Over the course of his college career, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry and rumbled for 28 touchdowns on the ground.

Friday night against the Steelers got off to a slightly slower start, as he averaged a modest 3.5 yards per carry.  Undaunted by the challenge, Helu has taken advantage of his week of practice to improve his game for Indianapolis.

“I saw that I have to practice faster,” he said of the Steelers swarming rush defense.  “That way I don’t have to pace myself with my legs going through the hole.”

Helu also recognized that running lanes don’t open up for the running back quite as well as they do in practice, which is something that must be adjusted as the game goes along.

“It’s different because the back side is getting cut off and we have different sieve plays, which brings the linebackers to stay in the middle,” he explained.  “So, it’s different, definitely, at game time.

One of the biggest influences on Helu so far during camp as been the presence of Tim Hightower in the lineup.  The veteran running back has not only performed well on the field, but has also taught the younger backs how to be a professional.

“I mean, I seek guidance from everyone.” Helu explained.  “But Tim is very vocal in his relationship with us.”

Building his speed and stamina for the pro game will allow him to carry a larger role in the offense moving forward.  However, he was sure to mention that his limited playing time on Friday night was all part of the game plan.

“We knew what roles we were gonna be given going into the game,” he assured me.  “My only game-plan is to compete every play and be disciplined in everything I do.  I try to do my best, and I know I failed at that, but there’s always room to improve.”

Certainly Friday night can look like failure when you’re used to cutting up Big 12 defenses.  But Helu has certainly shown flashes of brilliance already and has a lot more in store for the Redskins.


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