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Colonels' Unknown Commodity: Brock Lockhart

I wrote one of our Instant Replay Downs this week on James Wood running back Brock Lockhart. What struck me as unusual is with all the yards Lockhart has piled up this season, he rarely gets to any down but the first one; when you average 9.1 yards per carry, things like that tend to happen.

Lockhart is probably the best running back that nobody has ever heard of. Besides rushing for 962 yards and nine touchdowns on 106 carries at the Winchester-area school this season, the senior set two school records during a Week 1 win over Washington (W. Va.) with 35 carries and 302 yards.

“It’s the guys up front. Every day at practice they work so hard,” Lockhart said, doing his due diligence as a ball-carrier by praising his offensive line. “Just gotta give credit where credit’s due.”

When I talked with Colonels Coach Mike Bolin, it struck me as odd he had yet to field a phone call with regard to Lockhart.

Despite averaging more than 240 yards per game, Lockhart has managed to stay anonymous and under the recruiting radar. Listed at 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, he’s not small, and his 4.7-second 40-yard dash time is certainly not abysmal. But for whatever reason the lines have been dead.

“If someone came and watched him play, they would be extremely impressed,” Bolin said on Sunday afternoon after a rare morning on the golf course. “The way he runs the football is impressive. Maybe he doesn’t run a 4.3 or 4.4 [40-yard dash time], but when it comes to work ethic. . . ”

Bolin didn’t finish his sentence, but Lockhart took care of the explanation two days later. This past summer, Lockhart put himself through a series of agility drills to increase his foot speed. Remember those small orange cones that always seemed to be placed in a square? Or the long row of blue, cylindrical bags? That’s how Lockhart spent his summer.

Three days a week, Lockhart would show up at James Wood after he finished an at-home weightlifting program and complete the hour-long set of agility drills. There were the quasi-traditional shuttle runs: both shuffling side-to-side and sprinting and backpedaling.

There was the four-square drill, a variation of the shuttle run only with diagonal movements and more cuts. There were the bag repetitions where he would switch foot combinations while also running around the bags. And, as always, the in-and-out rope drill that we’re all so wonderfully familiar with.

All told, Lockhart arrived at camp late this summer much quicker on his feet and out of cuts. And this, according to both Lockhart and Bolin, has been the primary reason -- other than his offensive line, of course -- for Lockhart’s breakout season.

“He makes the cut and goes,” said Bolin, whose 4-0 team will host Brentsville on Friday at 7 p.m. “He’s hard to bring down. He can juke you, but he’ll lower his shoulder and run you over, too.”

Another interesting part of Lockhart’s emergence has been the basic means by which it has occurred. Long story short: Bolin doesn’t have a real extensive playbook. Basically he wants to attack between the tackles with traditional trap, isolation, dive and lead plays. Oh, and the occasional sweep.

Even with one for each side of the offensive line, that’s still only about eight or 10 plays.

“We like to keep it simple,” said Lockhart, who has also yet to fumble during his team’s first four games this season.

“There’s not a whole lot of running plays,” Bolin said. “Between the tackles, the A-B gaps … but our passing offense is a little more diverse.”

James Wood running back Brock Lockhart through four games …

Opponent Date Score Carries Yards TDs
Washington (W. Va.) 9/4 W, 35-19 35 302 4
Musselman (W. Va.) 9/11 W, 35-14 29 187 0
Hedgesville (W. Va.) 9/18 W, 43-0 16 220 1
Warren County 9/25 W, 41-21 26 253 4

By Jason Mackey  |  September 30, 2009; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  AA Northwestern District , Football , James Wood , Region II  
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