Citadel position report: Running the ball least of duties for slotbacks

The Citadel's Vinny Miller led Bulldogs slotbacks with 357 rushing yards last season. (Paul Zoeller/Staff)

Craig Miller has yet to carry the ball during a game for The Citadel's football team. But that hasn't stopped the sophomore from Holly Hill from rocketing up the Bulldogs' depth chart at slotback this fall.

The reason: The 5-8, 185-pounder is ready, willing and able to block.

"Craig has been the darkhorse of this whole thing," said slotbacks coach Lou Conte. "He's always the guy who sticks out on film. We never really expected much from him coming in, but he's always in the right place. He's always doing a great job of blocking, and we really trust Craig to do the job on the play side at slotback."

Conte, who coached running backs for new Citadel coach Mike Houston at Lenoir-Rhyne, likes to talk about "play side" and "back side" when discussing his slotbacks (or "A-backs.")

The play-side slotback in the triple option is the slotback lined up to the side where the play is going. His job is to block. The back-side slotback is the one who might get the pitch from the quarterback and run the ball.

"I tell my guys, you can all run," said Conte. "I'm not going to teach them a lot about running the ball. But it's the play side, the guy who blocks for the quarterback and the back-side slotback. You've got to make me feel comfortable there."

And that's why Miller has been running at first-team slotback along with redshirt freshman Jonathan Dorogy.

"Day-in and day-out, Craig is on point, and he can block," Conte said. "He's really boosted himself up the depth chart with his ability to block."

Dorogy, at 5-8 and 180 pounds, also will carry the ball as a Bulldog for the first time this season.

"He's the most level as far as doing it on both sides," Conte said. "On the back side, he's one of the fastest guys on the team. On the play side, he's just tough. He goes to the right guy and digs and fights and scraps. You'd love to have eight of those kid of guys."

Junior Vinny Miller, who led Citadel slotbacks with 357 yards and two touchdowns last season, spent the early part of camp working at fullback, and still is making the transition to slotback, Conte said.

"Everybody knows he can carry the ball," Conte said. "He knows it, we know it. He's a great athlete. We've just got to get him caught up on the play side. We've kind of thrown him into it and he's done a good job of picking things up on the run."

Cam Jackson, a 6-2, 195-pound redshirt freshman, was moved from quarterback to slotback this week.

A couple of experienced slotbacks, seniors Dalton Trevino and Jake Stenson, are on the shelf with injury. Stenson, who caught three TD passes, is dealing with a neck issue, while Trevino (knee) is expected back around mid-season.

Among freshmen, Jauveer Hammond (5-8, 170) from Strom Thurmond High School has made an early impression.

"I told Coach Houston the other day, we could throw Jauveer in there and he might light it up," Conte said. "He never really disappoints you on film. On the back side, he does what he did on film in high school -- runs the ball, makes plays. On the play side, he's not afraid of anything. You never really know until the time comes, but he could push his way into the top three or four."

Another freshman, Jalen Lampkin, scored on a 40-yard TD run during last Saturday's scrimmage.

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