It’s time for junior running back Damien Berry to get some meaningful carries.
Berry, the 5’11,” 217-pound bruising back, has proven he needs to get a legitmate shot to play against meaningful opponents. Berry was a highly regarded safety coming out of Glades Central. Last year he moved to running back where he saw majority of his time helping Canes prepare for opponents on the scout team. He was named 2008 Scout Team Offensive Player of the Year.
Berry had his break-out performance in the spring game where he rushed for 114 yards on just 14 carries. He was named Spring Game MVP.
He patiently waited the first four games as the Canes played four top 25 teams.
Last week against Florida A&M, Berry made the most of his opportunity. He marched all over the Rattlers, accumlating 162 yards on 14 carries.
Let’s not forget Berry has a football pedigree too, as he is the son of Kenny Perry, a defensive back who played for UM from 1987-1989.
So what else does Berry have to do? When I asked head coach Randy Shannon Wednesday morning, he quite simply said “practice.”
Last year, former running back Shawnbrey McNeal transferred to Southern Methodist University after not seeing ample playing time. Let’s hope that does not happen to Berry.
After his performance Saturday night, the humble Berry credited the offensive line. Although they did a fantastic job, Berry made some electrifying runs as he eluded numerous tackles.
“Damien has done a good job all year,” Tommie Robinson, the running back coach, said. “He capitalized on his opportunity. If you are a football player, you are a football player. He is a good kid. And let me tell you, FAMU was one of the toughest teams we’ve played thus far. They have some athletes and what you see on paper is not always how it plays out on the field.”
So let’s not waste a valuable commodity. A dominant run game pushes the linebackers and safeties up and opens up the pass game. If Berry can implement himself in Mark Whipple’s dynamic offense, the sky will be the limit.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.