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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Football

Ball carrier seeks to increase production


As he enters his junior season, running back Bryce Beall is hoping for what he calls a “bounce back” year.

Running back Bryce Beall, right, and quarterback Case Keenum hope to keep the good times rolling this season. | Daily Cougar File Photo

In Beall’s freshman campaign, he rushed for 1,247 yards and 13 touchdowns. However, because of Charles Sims’ role on offense last season, he ran for only 670 yards and seven touchdowns. Beall and Sims shared carries last year and were expected to do so again this season. But in June, the NCAA ruled Sims ineligible for the 2010 season, making Beall the focal point of the running game.

With Sims out of the fray for a season, Beall put in extra work this offseason, knowing he would have more opportunities.

“I came in preparing myself to carry the load,” Beall said. “I put more pressure on myself in the offseason. It made me get prepared. I’m excited about this year, the opportunity to get a chance again.”

“It’s all about being consistent. That’s it. Going out there and doing better than I did last year.”

Beall is the cousin of Larry Centers, a 14-year NFL great at fullback. Centers told Beall not to be discouraged but instead to take advantage of the new one.

“He just told me to stay focused,” Beall said. “He told me to stick my head up. Every football player has his days; he did too.

“Last year was last year, and this is a brand new year. I could have a better year than I’ve ever had.”

Beall will have more chances to run the ball, but in order to fully contribute to the offense, he will be asked to catch passes out of the backfield. Beall said he feels comfortable as a receiver and tailback.

“It’s different than most offenses,” Beall said. “Standard backs usually have to worry about running power and sweep plays, but you have to be able to catch out of the backfield and run the option route.

“I love to get a chance on the outside. Most schools pound it inside. It’s better going one-on-one instead of one on six or seven in the box.”

In addition to UH, TCU, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State also attempted to recruit him. But in order to play for any of the Big 12 schools, Beall would have to transition from running back to a cornerback or safety.

He chose UH because it recruited him with the promise that he would be allowed to play his preferred position.

“They let me play running back. Missouri was my first offer, and they wanted me to play defense and so did everybody else,” he said.

Beall played running back as well as linebacker at Tatum High School.

He was also an all-district basketball player, ran track and participated on the golf team. His fondest memory in high school came at a pivotal moment in a state championship game during his junior season.

“(It was) fourth-and-1 and we needed a key stop. I was playing defense and I blitzed the A-gap and got through to the backfield,” Beall said.

Last season against the then-No. 5 Oklahoma State, Beall caught the go-ahead touchdown pass to secure a victory. He points to this as the favorite moment of his football career.

“I always dreamed about making one of those type of catches in a big time game. To see that happen … probably my career highlight so far,” Beall said.

With less than two weeks before the season’s opener, Beall can only hope to create some new career highlights for the Cougars.

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