In Jordan Howard’s senior season at Indiana—he transferred there from the University of Alabama-Birmingham once the program was disbanded—he post the Big Ten’s highest overall grade for a running back and the conference’s top running grade. Our own Jack Farrell spoke with Howard today at Bears training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., for the second installment of PFF Stat Chat.
[More: Be sure to check out our Stat Chat conversation with Colts DE Henry Anderson.]
Jack Farrell: One of the running back stats we collect is yards after contact per attempt, which means how man extra yards a back earns after he is first hit. What do you think you averaged last season at Indiana?
Jordan Howard: Between three and four?
JF: You’re right on it—3.7. Now, where do you think that ranked you in the Big Ten conference?
JH: I’d guess that’s probably top three.
JF: You’re rolling—you were second best. Now we all understand what a missed tackle is, and running backs love to make defenders miss. Keeping in mind you missed a few games due to injury, how many do you think you forced last year?
JH: I feel you… 32?
JF: Are you looking at my notes? You had 35! Now, let’s switch gears and talk about pass-protection. This is hugely important, especially for rookies, to be strong at in order to get on the field. How many pressures do you think you gave up last year at Indiana?
JH: Maybe four or five?
JF: Give yourself more credit—you only gave up two, which is excellent. Was this a major point of emphasis in college?
JH: Exactly—that’s how you get on the field and become a three-down back.
JF: Explosive plays are huge; a lot of coaches place a lot of emphasis on these. We define explosive plays as runs of 15 yards or more—how many do you think you had last year?
JH: Probably four.
JF: Don’t sell yourself short—you had 20! Finally, let’s talk about individual game performances in two specific stats. In which game in 2015 do you think you forced the most missed tackles?
JH: Michigan… or maybe Western Kentucky.
JF: Being a former ACC player myself, I’m sad to say it was against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, when you had 11. Last question—in which game do you think you had the most yards after contact?
JH: Definitely Michigan.
JF: Way to finish strong, you nailed it. Against Michigan, you recorded 138 yards after contact.
[More: Be sure to check out analyst Gordon McGuinness' report from Bears training camp.]