Former Bulldog shines

By Joey Falkoff

Maryville, Mo. --

A team already saturated with quality running backs, Northwest Missouri State uncovered another one Saturday.

Not even used as a running back until the final practice of the spring Thursday, redshirt freshman Josh Swanson played a starring role in the White team's 17-9 over the Green in Northwest's spring game at Bearcat Stadium.

Swanson finished as the leading rusher in the game, averaging close to five yards per pop, and scored one of the White team's two touchdowns on a 4-yard run in the second quarter.

Pretty impressive stuff for a guy who only three days before was still playing fullback and tight end.

"He had probably 20 snaps at tailback and then he came in and did the things he did today," said Northwest Missouri State head coach Adam Dorrel. "That old adage don't come out of the huddle because you never know who's going in rang true. I think he proved to us that he can play tailback. He's very good with the ball in his hands. I was very impressed with him today."

Northwest sat its top four returning rushers from last year with injuries, giving Swanson a chance to be the White team's feature back.

In his first extended look, the 6-1, 230-pound Gering, NE, native displayed a powerful, downhill running style that was difficult for the Green defense to contain.

"He's so big," said Dorrel. "He was running tough today and running hard in the tackles."

Swanson's spring game emergence leaves Dorrel with some tough choices to make entering next season.

Between him, James Franklin III, Billy Creason, Kohlman Adema-Schulte, Denver Lohnes and Justin Fulks, the Bearcats have six legitimate options at running back.

Dorrel says at least one of the back-ups is due for a position switch.

"We're so confident that we have to look at moving a couple of those kids to get them on the field. That's what we're going to do," said Dorrel.

Fulks, a redshirt freshman, came into the game with the most buzz of any healthy Northwest back, but struggled to get in rhythm behind a Green offensive line that Dorrel says played poorly.

The Blue Valley (Kan.) product had one nice run in the first half that accounted for most of his ground production.

"Justin Fulks had a really, really good spring, one of the better springs I've seen out of any redshirt freshman since I've been here in 2004," said Dorrel. "I was really hoping you'd get to see him shine today. He really didn't. I'm disappointed for him because he had 13 really good practices coming into today."

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