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UT running back switches over to safety to play more

08/23/2016, 12:09am EDT
By By BRIAN BUCKEY BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Returning players make it tough to crack backfield

UT running back switches over to safety to play more

Marc Remy was primarily a third-down back and rushed for 179 yards on 30 carries last season. BLADE PHOTO

With a deep, veteran backfield returning for the University of Toledo, former running back Marc Remy could see a clearer path to playing time on defense.

Seniors Kareem Hunt and Damion Jones-Moore and junior Terry Swanson return in the backfield this year and there may not have been many carries available for the senior Remy. 

So Remy made the switch to safety where he is competing in camp for a starting position.

“I kind of embraced the opportunity,” Remy said. “It was an opportunity to get out there and get more reps. Running back is definitely fun, but you got some tough guys and tough competition with Terry, Damion, and Kareem.”

Remy, from North Olmsted, Ohio, played in 10 games as a running back last season, rushing for 179 yards in his role as third-down back. He has 594 rushing yards in his career at UT, including a season-high 219 yards as a sophomore.

The transition to safety has been smooth so far for Remy, who came in with a leg up based on his knowledge of offensive concepts and formations.

“That’s the advantage of Marc is that he understands conceptually what an offense is trying to do,” UT safeties coach Ross Watson said. “So the next phase for him was now I have to get defense down, which he has done. That’s allowed him to play at that next level that much faster and that has been his advantage.”

At 5-foot-11 190 pounds, Remy is an elite athlete and he believes the skills he developed playing running back can help him at the safety position.

“My big thing was the toughness and how I used to take on blocks,” Remy said. “I was the third-down running back so I am used to blocking guys in the A-gap. I feel like I can transition that to defense when I’m blitzing and being able to attack with power off the edge.”

Remy is competing for a starting job at the star position, which is a hybrid defensive back position that demands coverage in the passing game as well as support for the run game.

“You have to cover some of the faster guys, some of the slot guys,” Remy said. “Of course you also have blitzes and stuff like that, so it’s definitely a great transition and a great opportunity just to use my athleticism.”

Watson said he is pleased with how quickly Remy has been able to adjust to his new role.

“The first thing is he’s incredibly talented,” Watson said. “When you make a move like that you have to immerse yourself in the playbook and that’s what he has done to allow himself to play fast.”

Watson said he believes there will be a role carved out for Remy in this defense. But with slightly more than a week before the season-opener at Arkansas State, Remy and the other safeties are still battling for playing time.

“He would be the first to tell you there is a lot of work to be done,” Watson said. “We still have a good go at this camp and we’ve got to continue to improve and stay the course. How you approach the practices will determine how much you are playing and contributing. Marc and everyone in that room have done a phenomenal job and they continue to push. Now is the separation time of who can fight through it and keep battling.”

Contact Brian Buckey at: bbuckey@theblade.com or 419-724-6110.

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Tag(s): College  Toledo