Standing at five feet, six inches, the NFL’s Darren Sproles set the standard for small, shifty backs coming out of the backfield to bust huge runs for K-State. Senior John Hubert isn’t much taller at 5’7″. Yet despite their diminutive height, both names have become legend across the state (in fact, as a sophomore Hubert was named the starter over current Eagles running back Bryce Brown in 2011). So it should be no surprise that the player emerging to back up Hubert this only reaches 64 inches on the measuring tape (that’d be the 5’4″ senior Robert Rose).
Rose was the featured back during the team’s annual spring game last Saturday as Hubert was held out with an undisclosed leg injury. Filling in as starter, Rose averaged 8.3 yards/carry by gaining 141 yards on 17 attempts against the second team defense. His long run was 33 yards.
Rose is a different runner than Hubert, and provides some opportunity to serve as a change-of-pace back. Weighing in at 176 pounds, he is much shiftier and looks juke defenders out of tackles – Hubert is more suited to plow through them. Should he see much playing time this year, Rose would provide a different look to opposing defenses.
Rose is among a handful of returning running backs with very little experience looking to replace 2012 back up Angelo Pease. Rose played in the first two games last season but did not see any further action while gaining nine yards on four attempts. He was slightly more productive in 2011 with 35 yards on nine carries for 3.9 yards/attempt.
Hubert was not the only running back held out of the Purple-White game – redshirt freshman Jarvis Levertt and junior DeMarcus Robinson also spent the scrimmage on the sidelines. Robinson was slightly more productive than Rose in 2012 with 25 yards on six carries, with both players getting three carries against Miami as their most active of the season. Robinson, who stands at just 5’6″, is a step behind Rose on the depth chart this year but would love nothing more than to make himself the next great yet compact K-State running back.