After working on a Kansas farm during his childhood, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill may know a thing or two about horses.
After being a head football coach for 21 years, Kill knows numerous football philosophies as well.
And this year, he found a way to blend his farm and football ideologies.
“You got a good horse, ride him,” Kill said Saturday regarding Gophers senior running back David Cobb. “That’s what I was taught by my daddy a long time ago.”
Heading into this year, Minnesota boasted four talented backs: Cobb, Rodrick Williams, Donnell Kirkwood and Berkley Edwards. After the team’s opener against Eastern Illinois, it seemed that running back could be a revolving door, as no player had more than 14 carries.
Fast-forward four weeks, and that door has practically stopped spinning.
Cobb ran for 183 yards Saturday as the Gophers defeated Michigan 30-14. Cobb’s 32 carries led the team by far and was two short of his career high — 34 the previous week against San Jose State.
When asked if he was concerned about being overworked, Cobb jokingly said, “I didn’t play the first two years, so I’m pretty fresh.”
Cobb’s 722 rushing yards on the season puts him at third in the nation for total rushing yards. Twice this year he has rushed for more than 200 yards in a game.
Cobb brings more to the table than statistics. He opens up other aspects of the game as opposing defenses start to stack the box to try to stop him.
“[Running the ball effectively] helps you because you throw the ball better and throw the ball better in play action,” Kill said.
There were many times against Michigan when Cobb seemed bottled up at the line of scrimmage, only to break free from the pile moments later. That aspect of Cobb’s game seems to impress his teammates.
“Blocking on the perimeter as a receiver, you got to really hold those blocks out there because you never know where [Cobb] will come from,” junior wide receiver KJ Maye said.
However, no matter how much Kill and the Gophers want to ride Cobb like a “workhorse,” the star running back stressed he can’t carry the offense by himself.
“I think the biggest thing was not just getting me the ball, but just getting our run game and pass game mixed right,” Cobb said. “When we have that balance, we are more successful as an offense.”