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July 29, 2014

Bohanon hopes to bolster backfield

 

drillBob Ellis/staff photographer
Jets fullback Tommy Bohanon works with running backs coach Anthony Lynn last Friday at SUNY Cortland.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

With quiet efficiency, Tommy Bohanon does his part helping to improve the New York Jets running game.
The 23-year-old enters his second season with the Jets having been a seventh-round draft pick by Gang Green in 2013. Bohanon replaced former fullback John Conner, who held the position from 2010-12.
Bohanon started eight of the 16 games played in 2013, gaining 62 yards on 17 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per carry. The Wake Forest grad also caught 11 passes for 69 yards, a respectable 6.3 yards per catch, and was the leading blocker for the rest of the running backs.
With a talented backfield that has Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell returning from the 2013 season and the newly acquired free agent Chris Johnson from the Tennessee Titans, Bohanon is the guy in the shadows. He seems to be all right with that as he heads into the upcoming campaign.
“I am definitely excited about this season,” Bohanon said. “Those names you mentioned (Ivory, Powell, Johnson) shows we have a great backfield. I really am excited to be blocking for them. I hope we do everything we need to do to become one of the best backfields in the league.”
Beginning year two of the Marty Mornhinweg offensive system, Bohanon has clear focus on his role in the grand scheme of things.
“Like last year, I’ll do a lot of different things,” Bohanon said. “I like being versatile. I’ll be that lead blocker. I’ll go out and catch some passes and I’ll get a few carries here and there. That is my role, do a little bit of everything.”
What things can Bohanon do in training camp to perfect his game?
“I really just come in every day and work to get better. That’s really the team’s goal as well. If we get a little better each day, the whole team will be better throughout the season,” he said.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan has noticed the growth of the second-year man who grew up in North Fort Myers, Fla.
“The good thing about Tommy is he’s not just one of those guys who has to run his head into a linebacker,” Ryan said. “He can give you those two-back things as a lead blocker, but he is very flexible. He gives you the versatility of being able to play on the outside as a receiver, which he did in college. He can play a U-position like a tight end and he can run the football. He is faster than you think. He benches like 550 pounds, but he really can run.
“He got more comfortable as the season went along in 2013,” he added. “With Marty and the versatility we have in our offense, you’ll see Tommy do even more things for us this year.”
With the entire team passing its conditioning work before departing for Cortland, the dedication to succeed is very evident.
“We have a very good group of hard workers,” Bohanon said. “That has carried over for all the off-season workouts and should carry over throughout the regular season.
“We really care about each other,” he added “We want to do our best for the guy next to us.”
With Syracuse University now a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Bohanon now comes to Cortland and Central New York, an area that is part of a growing collegiate conference that’s up and down the East Coast with improved football universities in addition to rich basketball and lacrosse histories.
“I think it’s nice to see the ACC expanding all over the country,” Bohanon stated. “There are some great teams and rich traditions all over the country and this is a big help for the ACC. It’s giving the conference more notability.”
Bohanon is just one of those many players looking for a spot on the final 53-man roster and is a part of a real team unity feeling in training camp at SUNY Cortland. With hard work and a continued drive to succeed, is the versatile back part of a true playoff contender? Those questions will begin to be answered in Cortland and throughout the 2014 season.

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