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
  • Patel named RSU men's basketball assistant coach

    Rogers State University head men’s basketball coach Justin Barkley named Vinay Patel the new assistant men’s basketball coach on Monday.

    “I am very excited about bringing Vinay on board,” Barkley said. “He brings invaluable experience to the program as he is a well-respected recruiter and his NCAA Division II resume is a perfect fit as we continue our transition to become a full-NCAA Division II member.”

    April 22, 2014

  • DSC_0089web.jpg All-State Hoopsters

    Verdigris senior point guard Baileigh O’Dell capped off a stellar four-year prep basketball career with Tulsa World 2nd-Team All-State recognition.
    O’Dell, a 5-foot-5 floor general that will compete for the Lamar University Lady Cardinals in the Southland Conference next season, was one of five girls basketball players from Rogers County to earn All-State accolades.
    Claremore senior point guard Kaleigh Cox, Inola senior point guard Lexi Williams, Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan and Verdigris freshman forward Keara Battenfield were named to the honorable mention squad.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0127web.jpg SOCCER: Lady Zebras ranked 4th in Class 5A poll

    Strong senior leadership and a talented core of underclassmen have kept the Claremore Lady Zebras on a nine-game winning streak since falling in the season opener.
    Senior midfielder Katelin Teter and senior defenders Jentry Cruce and Anna McGuire have the Lady Zebras playing their best soccer in the closing week of the regular season.
    Behind Teter, Cruce and McGuire, as well as other seniors Bailey Bacon and Emily Parkinson, the Lady Zebras (9-1) are currently ranked No. 4 overall in the Class 5A girls soccer state poll.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0181web.jpg BASEBALL: Claremore splits series with Collinsville

    The moment Claremore senior catcher Matt Whatley got thrown out at home plate in the top of first inning, it was downhill for the Zebras.
    Collinsville took advantage of six Claremore errors and erupted for 17 hits to thump the Zebras, 15-2 Friday afternoon in Metro Lakes Conference play.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • BROWNweb.jpg BASEBALL: Catoosa’s Brown holds off Ft. Gibson

    Nick Brown twirled a four-hitter and Catoosa held firm defensively with the game on the line, powering the Indians to a 4-3 victory over Fort Gibson Saturday on Senior Day.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0216web.jpg RSU's Law silences UT-Permian Basin

    The Rogers State University baseball team dropped game one of a Heartland Conference series at Texas-Permian Basin, 2-0, but battled back to split the twin bill Friday with a 7-1 victory in the night cap.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Southern Mississippi searching for new basketball coach

    Southern Mississippi athletic director Bill McGillis thought basketball coach Donnie Tyndall might not last long as the team kept winning games.

    April 22, 2014

  • Kentucky's Julius Randle enters NBA Draft

    Kentucky forward Julius Randle took a lot of time and talked to a lot of people before deciding to leave after one season for the NBA draft, where he is expected to be among the top five selections.

    April 22, 2014

  • BIG TEN MBB: Illinois player Darius Paul arrested

    University of Illinois police say basketball player Darius Paul faces preliminary charges of resisting a peace officer and unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor.

    April 22, 2014

  • SEC MEN'S BB: Tennessee hires Southern Mississippi's Donnie Tyndall

    Tennessee's coaching position had just become available when Donnie Tyndall received a text message urging him to pursue the job.

    April 22, 2014