Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

September 5, 2013

Missouri RB Hansbrough ready for bigger role

COLUMBIA, Mo. — After cutting a 51-yard path through Murray State's defense, Russell Hansbrough wanted to play it cool. He exchanged a few hugs with teammates in the end zone, then jogged back to the sideline to receive some more.

He had scored only his second career touchdown, but there was no need for theatrics - his first score came just three minutes earlier.

That's not to say he didn't want to celebrate.

"I was just really happy,'' the Missouri running said. "It was a monkey off my back.''

Hansbrough rushed eight times for 104 yards and was essentially done by halftime, a sign of his new role with the Tigers (1-0). Talking to him, one can sense his optimism for the season ahead, borne from an eagerness to move on from a haphazard freshman year in which his confidence admittedly wavered.

Having added some brawn this past offseason, Hansbrough is listed at 5-foot-9, 190-pounds, nearly identical to teammates Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy. Their similar stature and background - all three are from Texas - convinced Hansbrough to switch his commitment from Arizona State to Missouri after the Sun Devils fired coach Dennis Erickson following the 2011 season.

"Like I told him, `Boy, you look like a younger me when I first got here,''' Josey said.

But all was not rosy for Hansbrough in his first season. He rushed 37 times for 136 yards, only 32 more than he gained in Saturday's opener alone. His most notable play was one he'd rather forget, one that he says still motivates him today.

With less than three minutes left in a 42-10 loss to Alabama, a defender picked Hansbrough clean off the turf and threw him onto the ground back first. Officials whistled LaMichael Fanning for unsportsmanlike conduct, but that mattered little to Hansbrough, who stayed in the game.

"No one wants that to happen to them,'' he said.

Nevertheless, Hansbrough is thankful he didn't redshirt, as he got a chance to experience the pace of play in the Southeastern Conference. He still works with coaches on blocking for pass protection and understanding various offensive schemes, but he says he's come a long way.

"The experience of being in the arena and getting out and playing, it's something that every player has to go through,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. "So often here - we can list the athletes since we've been here - all of a sudden they play pretty good, all of a sudden the same athlete the next year is playing at a whole different level.''

Now a sophomore, Hansbrough is part of a three-man tailback rotation for Missouri in its second year in the SEC. But while Josey is known for an all-Big 12 season in 2011 and Murphy for returning a school-record four kicks last year, the spotlight has yet to reach Hansbrough.

And he's perfectly OK with that, saying he'd rather concentrate on helping the team in any way he can.

"I think there's a side of Russell that he doesn't really show to anybody,'' running backs coach Brian Jones said. "Russell, yeah, he is a quiet guy. Around us, he's actually `Yes, sir. No, sir.' Very respectful. He's a joy to have and I think he's got a really bright future. He really does.''

The Tigers rushed for 358 yards against Murray State, but now look to maintain the momentum against Toledo (0-1) and later in the SEC, where they finished tied for 13th in rushing yards per game and tied for last in yards per carry last year. Having three healthy tailbacks, including Hansbrough, will help.

"I'm really excited for him and I hope he keeps pushing me like he has done,'' Josey said. "I told him we've got a great tandem going together. It's just going to be a great year for us.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Houston Baptist clips ORU, 11-10

    Jose Trevino launched his second home run of the series on Saturday afternoon to send the game into extra innings, but Houston Baptist plated two runs in the 10th to avoid a three-game sweep with an 11-10 win at J.L. Johnson Stadium.

    April 20, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: Henshaw's 11th-inning HR lifts Tulsa past UTSA, 2-1

    Senior Haley Henshaw's home run in the top of the 11th inning gave No. 16 Tulsa a 2-1 win at UTSA and complete the series sweep Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

    April 20, 2014