New Mexico running back Tyrone Owens doesn’t say much on the field. Instead, he chooses to let his play do the talking and 2016 proved to be a loud welcome party for the former Manor running back.
Owens rushing for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns last season for the Lobos His teammate, former Dallas Kimball running back Teryion Gipson, also broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, making them the first pair to run for over 1,000 yards in the same season in school history.
“I think the biggest key was just being more comfortable with everything,” the redshirt junior back said, “I just don’t carry much fear as a runner.”
Owens splits carries with multiple backs in New Mexico’s triple option offense and is ready to take on any role needed to help his team win. That said, last season proved to be a bit of a surprise for one of his coaches.
He kind of came into his own last year,” said offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, “He’s a versatile back and anything that you ask him to do, he can do well. We’ve always been excited about him but his game speed was a surprise to us. He generated some explosive runs that maybe we hadn’t seen in the past at practice.”
As the season opener approaches against Abilene Christian, Owens is starting the new season with some new recognition. Most recently, the redshirt junior was named on the Earl Campbell Award watch list, given to the most outstanding offensive player with Texas ties in high school or college.
“It means a lot to be recognized,” Owens said, “Earl Campbell is a legend and my parents and I have all looked up to him. To be in that category with some of the best in the country means a lot.”
At 5-9, Owens isn’t the biggest running back in the country or the biggest player on the field. That said, the junior running back leads by example and knows that he has a good support system around to help.
“We have other running backs such as Richard McQuarley and Daryl Chestnut that could do some great things like Teryion did last year,” Owens said, “I’m kind of taking on a bigger role but they’ll be there for us as well.”
“The dude is a silent leader. He doesn’t say much on the field but he’ll make sure you’re on your stuff,” said New Mexico wide receiver Q’ Drennan, “He leads by example and he’s a guy that we can really lean on to get the job done.”
It’s a way that’s worked out well for Owens and something that he hopes to continue. In the end, he’s not about the numbers. He simply wants to help the Lobos get back to another bowl game and possibly more.
“Tyrone is a pretty complete back and a very unselfish player,” DeBesse said, “There’s no pressure to repeat his production from last year but he just wants to continue to improve.”
“The key for us is to just be on point with what we do,” Owens said, “Just know what to do, do it fast and not second-guessing ourselves.”
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