TAHLEQUAH — McMillan’s chances of logging significant playing time in the fall still appear to be slim with Rockmore and Dixon back to occupy NSU’s backfield. Dixon and Steven Hopper — who got carries on NSU’s second-string offense on Saturday — teamed up to fill the void left by Rockmore, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Missouri Southern in the RiverHawks’ second game of the 2013 campaign.
“Dixon and Hopper are running awesome right now, and you’re not even throwing Rockmore into the equation,” Robinson said. “We’ve got Rock looking like an NFL back on the sidelines, and he’s itching to play.”
When Rockmore returns in the fall, his running lanes could be wider if NSU’s quarterbacks can continually hit Garrett Powell, a 6-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Bartlesville who arrived at NSU via Pittsburg State. Powell caught two touchdown passes during NSU’s red-zone offense exhibit.
“Things are starting to come together under Coach Robinson,” said Powell, who left the Gorillas after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. “He’s got us going in the right direction. You saw some good things, but we’ve still got some things to work on.”
When NSU opens the 2014 season at Pittsburg State, who will be the quarterback trying to his NSU’s wide receivers? That’s a question that Robinson is leaving unanswered until fall camp.
“I want them to push each other,” Robinson said. “They both (Kevin and Johnny) possess a strong arm and Thor is more of a runner, so we can do some things with him.”
Pantastico transferred to NSU from Phoenix College in the offseason. Long occupied Deaton’s spot as the RiverHawks’ quarterback when Deaton suffered a fractured fibula in NSU’s season opener at Pittsburg State.