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Tiger players stepping up in wake of injuries

Published on -9/26/2012, 10:59 AM

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In the last year, redshirt freshman Treveon Albert already has played three different positions.

He came to Fort Hays State University heralded as an athletic, playmaking quarterback from Georgia. Albert redshirted and served as the No. 3 quarterback last year before he moved to wide receiver in the spring. While Albert sometimes struggled with learning the plays, he again impressed with his athleticism.

However, this fall, Albert moved to running back after injuries to junior Ed Smith and senior Andre Smith, one of the MIAA's top running back combinations last season. Albert is expected to stay at running back the rest of the season.

Second-year coach Chris Brown announced Tuesday that Andre Smith (knee) and Ed Smith (shoulder) are done for 2012. They combined for 21 carries for 48 yards.

"As far as I know, they are out for the season," Brown said in his weekly news conference. "Unless some miracle happens."

True freshman Addie Brown and Albert, along with junior quarterback Tarean Austin and Shaun Ohlde, are now the main ball carriers. Addie Brown leads the team with 64 rushing attempts for 311 yards, 65th in NCAA Division II and sixth nationally among freshmen.

"Addie is doing a great job for us right now," coach Brown said. "He is seeing things well, hitting the holes well now. Shaun Ohlde is doing a good job and Treveon Albert. All three of those guys are really taking over that role right now and doing a good job with it. (Albert) is just so fast and so athletic."

Austin has 30 rushes for 82 yards, while Albert has nine carries for 39 yards.

Ohlde has tacked on four carries for nine yards. Brown (4.9 yards a carry) and Albert (4.3) are the lone Tigers to average at least three yards a carry on at least two rushing attempts.

SDLqIt's pretty good," Albert said. "It's all just a learning process, that's all. But I like it. I like running back a lot better than other positions. Just learning still, though.

"Finding the hole, just got to have a feel for it," he added. "You just got to know what you've got to do, and you've just got to do it. The hardest thing for me is my steps right now. Just getting my steps down and just remember everything."

Overall, Fort Hays averages 130 rushing yards, 3.9 yards a carry and 12.8 points a game against the nation's No. 2-hardest schedule, according to masseyratings.com. FHSU stands last in scoring offense but 10th in rushing in the 14-team MIAA.

"I think he is doing pretty good right now, I really do," Albert said of Addie Brown, sixth in the MIAA and first among freshmen in rushing. "He has got a lot of confidence, he has got a lot of heart, and I think that has taken him a long way."

On Saturday, Fort Hays (0-4, 0-4 MIAA) travels to Truman State (Mo.) University (3-1, 2-1 MIAA). Game time is 1 p.m. at Stokes Stadium in Kirksville, Mo.

In addition to Albert, Fort Hays has made some other adjustments. After years of a no-huddle look, FHSU has started to huddle more. While the Tigers struggled inside Missouri Western State University territory last Saturday in a 21-3 loss, the Tigers did deliver 270 yards of offense, its second-highest total of the year.

"Especially with this huddle offense, everybody is going in there tight and everybody knows what they are doing now," junior wideout Keaton Callins said.

Fort Hays still has struggled with completing passes with Austin. He has completed 47 of 103 passes for 431 yards with a 2/3 TD/INT ratio. The Tigers' 4.50 yards per pass attempt ranks last in the MIAA. On Tuesday, wide receivers coach Al McCray had the Tiger wideouts run at full speed to mimic game conditions and improve timing with Austin.

"I think that will carry on to the game and make us better," Callins said.

Albert in the backfield presents another option for playmaking. He already has a 16-yard run; among running backs, only Addie Brown has a longer carry this season. As well, Albert has caught three passes for 18 yards. While Albert said he has had some trouble when surrounded by defenders, the running back is confident that he can break long runs if he gets into space.

"Running back is a lot easier than receiver, so it took you about two days, and then you know the plays already, because I played quarterback earlier, so then I just get the feel of it," he said. "...The more I get the ball, the more I feel comfortable."

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