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McNeese State cornerback Brent Spikes brings down fullback Dylan Long during a scrimmage. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese State cornerback Brent Spikes brings down fullback Dylan Long during a scrimmage. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

McNeese Cowboys finding new ways to utilize fullbacks

Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 12:53 AM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

For many college football programs, the fullback has gone the way of the dinosaur.

McNeese State still has a couple of those dinosaurs on the roster. And just like the Flintstones, the Cowboys are coming up with interesting ways to use them.

Heading into training camp, Dylan Long and Devin Eaglin were considered fullbacks. But as coach Matt Viator realized this year’s offense will be better suited by playing two tight ends or three receivers with one man in the backfield, their roles have changed.

“Dylan and Devin give us big backs,” Viator said earlier this month. “We’re trying to see if that can help us this year. We probably weren’t as efficient last year in short-yardage running.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist — or, to continue a theme, a Jetson — to figure out this development was eagerly received by the athletes formerly known as fullbacks.

“I’m excited,” Long said. “I played mostly fullback/running back in high school. So it gives me a chance to show my talents and help the team out any way I can.”

Rather than blocking for their backfield counterparts, Long and Eaglin will now have the opportunity to be ballcarriers in short-yardage scenarios.

“Fullbacks don’t get that much gratification for the blocks we’re making, but we understand we have to do that for the team,” Long said. “It’s good to know that they trust me enough to put the ball in my hand now.”

Neither Long, a sophomore from Covington, nor Eaglin, a redshirt freshman from Westlake, have a carry in college.

Both weigh in at 225 pounds, adding a bit more heft to complement smaller, speedier tailbacks Marcus Wiltz and Kelvin Bennett.

The decision to turn the fullbacks into feature backs at the start of camp is looking like a blessing at the end of it. With Javaris Murray and Terrell Alfred sidelined for this week’s game at South Florida due to injuries, Long and Eaglin are now the next in line behind Wiltz and Bennett.

“We’ve moved them to give us some depth at tailback, and we’re kind of excited about what they can do,” Viator said.

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