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Monday, August 8, 2022

Football

For running back, senior year isn’t just about the stats


WEB-Justin-Tijerina-IMG_0358

While senior running back Kenneth Farrow has seen a dip in his numbers this year, he feels his contributions to the team have paid off in the intangibles. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

Whether by barreling through defensive lines on the field or being vocal in the locker room, senior running back Kenneth Farrow is always aiming to mirror the culture and expectations of his coaching staff.

Although he led the American Athletic Conference with 15 touchdowns last season, Farrow said his goal is never solely to make it into the end zone, but simply to produce for his team.

“It’s always about helping the team win,” Farrow said. “But, it just so happened that I got in the end zone a little bit more. Every weekend, it’s about doing what I have to do, whether it’s three touchdowns or no touchdowns.”

As a three-time appointed team captain, Farrow is always looking to go above and beyond. He feels there’s always room for improvement, something head coach Tom Herman said led him to do too much at the beginning of the season.

“I think he would be the first to admit that he had a couple games where he didn’t play as good as he’d like,” Herman said. “It takes a while for a running back to get used to a system…I think he got used to a different style for three years. It takes time.”

With more practice and game experience in Herman’s system under his belt, Farrow said he’s finally able to relax.

“Coming out every day and working on the little things has helped,” Farrow said. “But also that game experience and being able to really feel things out with the new offense and the flow to the run game has definitely helped a lot week to week.”

After starting his career at Houston as a redshirt safety and seeing success when transitioning to running back, Farrow believes hard work can overtake the little things—even the pressure to produce for his senior year.

“All I knew was to work hard,” Farrow said. “If you come out with that attitude – to just work hard and do your job, then everything falls in place.”

Although they are different, Farrow said both he and his teammates have reaped the benefits of Herman’s new system and the workload required of them during the offseason.

“I think (Herman’s system) was easier for a lot of the older guys because they were willing to buy in and do whatever it took to be in this situation that we’re in now,” Farrow said. “I think it took a while for some of the younger guys, but that’s on the older guys to bring them along. Now everyone loves it.”

As team captain, Farrow marvels at seeing the younger players step up, having the entire team grow as a whole and be on the same page.

“Being captain has been pretty easy because all of the guys have pretty much been brought in,” Farrow said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who really want to win.”

Although one aspect of the team’s ability to win is run plays made by quarterback Greg Ward Jr., Farrow doesn’t wallow in the fact that his chances to make plays in the end zone are sometimes lessened.

“I’d rather be 6-0 with (Ward) than 1-5 with 20 touchdowns,” Farrow said. “It’s really fun being able to get down there and the (opposing) defense has no clue what you’re about to do.”

Backup running back Ryan Jackson said that selfless is just the type of teammate Farrow is.

“He’s a great dude and a great player,” Jackson said. “I’ve been around him since my freshman year. If something is sliding in the locker room or on the field, he’ll address it, and that rubs off on you at the end of the day. He uplifts us and does a lot for everyone on the team.”

Jackson said Farrow took him under his wing and instills in the running back unit core values of reaching success, not as a group, but as a team.

“As a unit, we just look to do the best we can—continue to contribute to the team’s success, but as a whole, play like a family,” Jackson said. “We’re not selfish at all. We never get caught up in attributes and stats. If we get a little success, we pat each other on the back.”

Keeping defenses off balance, Farrow welcomes switching personnel up and said successful games are a set expectation.

“We kind of have our goals for explosive runs per game and yards a game and things that we want to do like that,” Farrow said. “Each week we want to do better than the last week.”

Although he enjoys defenses not knowing what to expect from him, being a player, leader and teammate to count on is Farrow’s personal standard.

His head coach is appreciative of his growth.

“His leadership has been great,” Herman said. “(He is) vocal when he needs to be, but certainly leads by example. He’s a coach on the field and in the locker room.”

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