After rushing for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017, Rodney Anderson’s 2018 season was abruptly cut short, as was his right ACL in Oklahoma’s second game. It was Anderson’s third season-ending injury in his four years with the Sooners and the nail in the coffin for his aspirations of becoming an early draft pick.
Injuries have unfortunately defined Anderson’s profile, but when healthy, he’s an extremely impressive back. He has speed and power and anytime he gets his hands on the ball he is a threat to take it the distance. Let’s take a look at Anderson’s film to see what he is capable of.
You don’t have to use a stopwatch to tell that a player is fast. An offensive player can demonstrate great speed by beating a defensive player who appears to have a good angle on him.
In this clip, the free safety takes an angle that is clearly too tight to beat Anderson to the edge, but appears to be taking a good pursuit angle when he turns to chase him down. But looks can be deceiving.
Anderson is just fast enough to beat this angle and shake off a diving tackle attempt. The middle linebacker and the right cornerback also appear to be taking good angles, but they are left in the dust as Anderson runs 64 yards for a touchdown.
Anderson is not just fast; he is powerful. In this clip, he breaks through the line only to have two defenders converge on him at the three-yard line. With a defender on each hip, Anderson drives forward and into the end zone.
It is not enough for a running back to just be fast and powerful, he must also have the vision to read his blocks. On this play Anderson reads the center’s block on the defensive tackle. This tells him to cut back, and he does with great speed. As he gets to the second level he cuts again, this time off of right guard’s block on the linebacker. From there, he is off to the races and scores a 30-yard touchdown.
Blocks do not always set up as quickly as they did in the clip above. Like his predecessor in the Oklahoma backfield and now teammate Joe Mixon, Anderson demonstrates great patience. He is able to throttle down in the backfield, and burst through the gap once it opens up.
In this clip, the Sooners are running a counter play with the right guard and right tackle pulling to the left side. Anderson pauses allowing the pullers to get around before cutting behind their blocks and bursting through the hole for a big gain. His patience combined with his vision and speed make him a dangerous runner.