Grambling's read to run

Updated: August 17, 2003, 1:37 PM ET

GRAMBLING, La. -- It might have been unexpected from a team that rewrote every school passing record last year, but when Grambling State players gathered Saturday for drills at Media Day, they ran the ball.

"We want to establish that, because I think we've got some guys who can really run the ball well," said head coach Doug Williams, who has never had much of a rushing attack since taking over from Eddie Robinson after the 1997 season.

"We've got those big linemen -- and once they come together, there's going to be a lot of weight leaning on people," he said, adding that opponents will have fewer chances to take a shot at starting quarterback Bruce Eugene.

"We have good running backs this year," Eugene said. "That will take some of the pressure off of me. It will give me a break from having to run the ball or throw so much."

Grambling entered camp with a quartet of sophomores at tailback: Henry Tolbert, Michael O'Ree, Gideon Leonard and Ab Kauuan -- the strongest crop of runners Williams has had since Brad Hill two seasons ago. Newcomers Chris Caldwell and Jason Franklin each broke free for big runs during the Saturday scrimmage.

That's a welcome sight, indeed, for GSU offensive coordinator Melvin Spears. Last year, his quarterback finished second in overall team rushing, behind the departed Karrell Charles.

"The difference for us this year," Spears said, "in order to go all the way, we've got to run the ball more."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index