Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who is Vick Ballard?

2010 was a breakout year for new Mississippi State arrival Vick Ballard. Ballard, who had spent the previous two seasons at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, burst onto the scene and was a major reason for the Bulldogs 9-4 season a year ago.

At Miss. Gulf Coast Ballard destroyed opposing defenses, racking up an impressive 1,728 yards on 298 attempts and an incredible 22 touchdowns in 12 games during his sophomore season. rated him as a three star performer at the conclusion of the 2009 season. Oddly Ballard only received two major scholarship offers while at Gulf Coast, Troy and Mississippi State. Ballard chose to take his talents to Starkville.

In his inaugural campaign (junior year)  Ballard started 10 of 12 games for the Bulldogs, carrying the ball 186 times for 968 yards (5.2 per carry) and 19 touchdowns. He also had 106 receiving yards and a score. Ballard is blessed with good size at 5-11 and 220 pounds and his build reminds me a lot of a younger Michael Turner, of the Atlanta Falcons, with a thick lower body and powerful legs.

Ballard is a tough inside runner with deceptive speed to the edge. He shows good, but not great, burst when making his cuts. He displays good vision and just enough wiggle, but often is impatient in reading his blocks. He does a good job of running behind his pads and shows good body lean. Ballard does have a tendency of leaving his feet to hurdle would-be tacklers, leaving his body open resulting in poor ball security.

Pass catching may be his biggest area of improvement this season as Vick has almost matched his reception total from last season, snagging 8 passes in the first four games. Thus far in 2011 Ballard has rushed for 407 yards on 58 attempts (7 yards per carry) and 5 touchdowns.

However, Ballard was held to only 38 yards on 10 attempts against the vaunted LSU defense in Miss. State's 6-19 week three home loss. Hopefully Georgia's newfound resurgence on defense will continue and contain Ballard; forcing quarterback Chris Relf to make plays from the pocket. Here are highlights of Ballard's 135 yard performance against Auburn earlier this season.

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