2018 brought the Ottawa REDBLACKS 11 wins and a .611 winning percentage that stood up as their second-best season in the CFL since posting a 12-win campaign in 2015.
2018 was a season that the REDBLACKS relied heavily on one player in the running back position. Third-year player William Powell got the nod to take care of business out of the backfield. He didn’t disappoint.
Powell is proving to be a fan favourite in Ottawa. He continues to prove his worth as he moves towards his fourth full season as a REDBLACK. The 30-year-old Texas native has found a home in the CFL and by looking at last year statistically has found his game as well.
William Powell The Numbers 2018 vs. 2017
2018 – 251 Rushing Attempts out of the backfield vs. 173 Rushing Attempts 2017
Increase in production helped as Powell played 16 games in 2018. Because of this the bulk of his output shows when we look at the percentage of yards produced by the running back.
77% of the Rushing Yards Ottawa REDBLACKS gained in 2018 came from William Powell. Break out the hard hat and lunch box for the former Kansas State Wildcat as he went to work in 2018 and the stats show it.
Touchdowns – Powell has found the endzone 13 times in his 3-year career. In 2018 he was able to cross the goal line 6 times for a career high. This upward trend of finding the endzone each season can give players confidence and a sense of execution in the Red Zone.
If the Ottawa REDBLACKS need anything, it is more confidence and options inside 20 yards. There’s a reason their kicker made so many on the bounce. Powell should continue to support growth statistically in this area in 2019.
How did the running game stack up vs. the Win column in 2018?
I’m not here today to debate where the run game fits into the CFL coaching strategy or how it should be implemented on first down opportunities. That would require a white paper and spreadsheets that go far beyond both time and patience. I like the raw data of yards on the ground and a W in the column.
The Ottawa REDBLACKS had 11 Wins this season with an average of 114 Yards of rushing per Win.
A football field length in rushing yards! Going back to the production of William Powell the 114 yards per win meant he was a busy man out of the backfield during each march towards victory.
The Powell Effect in action
11 Wins and 114 Yards of Rushing Production per win
7 Losses and 71 Yards of Rushing Production per loss
The game against the Calgary Stampeders July 12th at home witnessed the poorest rushing production of 2018 and a massive blowout. Mustering only 35 yards on the ground the team managed a 27 – 3 loss to the Stampeders.
The low point and eye test in that game if you watched was simple; Ottawa can’t abandon the run game and rely on just the throwing arm of Quarterback Trevor Harris. Two back to back offensive series with interceptions allowed the opposing defense to dictate the terms and crank out the blitz packages.
With CFL leading talent in the backfield the game against Calgary proved that just 8 rush attempts from Powell isn’t enough.
Look ahead numbers 2019 – Increase Powell production
Increasing from the 2018 average of 97 yards ground attack would be ideal. The rushing stats support a strong play-calling strategy that allows Powell to get the ball and make the opposition miss him.
114 Yards of Rushing on the ground is the watermark that the REDBLACKS should aim for in 2019. Powell could find himself beyond the goal line for possible double-digit numbers.
Send me a tweet @projectsmith with a William Powell TD Prediction number. I predict 9 TDs for 2019.
Mike Smith is a founding partner of the BleedRedblacks podcast, and is a season ticket holder in Ottawa. He is particularly interested in statistical trends within the game and can be found on twitter.