Owls’ Drummond making most of running back role


Over the summer, Seymour junior running back Chandler Drummond wasn’t studying offensive plays or running through holes opened by offensive linemen.

He was learning how to play cornerback and was trying to slow down opposing wide receivers.

The last thing on Drummond’s mind was following his blockers or executing a cutback for a big gain. Instead, he was just making sure he didn’t get beat on a slant or get outpaced down the field and allow a big catch.

But after an injury to Colin Greathouse over the summer — the Owls’ first choice at running back — Drummond was thrust into a position he didn’t know much about.

Drummond will tell you he was nervous the first time he took the ball from quarterback Brendan Smith Week 1 against South Dearborn.

He is, after all, following in the footsteps of Nathan O’Mara, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards for the Owls last year. Yet Drummond has some good teachers in his corner, making sure he’s ready to play the position the way it needs to be played for Seymour.

“Colin and I are friends off and on the field, and he’s helped me run through stuff and learn the position,” Drummond said. “Things just happened, and I’ve ended up at running back somehow. I just learned the plays, and now, it’s clicked.”

Seymour’s offense has hummed right along behind Drummond, who has 739 yards and seven touchdowns through five games this season. His total rushing yards mark is good enough for 16th-best in the state and fourth-best in Class 5A.

He and Smith have been the two-pronged rushing attack that has led the Owls to their 4-1 start. It’s the first time since 2002 the Owls were 4-1 by the last week of September.

Coach Mike Kelly has praised Drummond’s ability to learn the offense on short notice, but the biggest improvement has come with how much more physical he has been running the football.

“I think at the beginning of the year, he was a little more tentative or apprehensive, so to speak, in just getting off the football and doing the things we like our tailbacks to do,” Kelly said. “He’s gotten much better in his ability to do what we ask him to do, and he does it with a bit of an attitude now.”

Physicality isn’t the No. 1 attribute Kelly looks for in a running back, but it’s pretty high on the list. He wants a runner with good vision, too, one that can see the hole before it’s opened up wide.

Kelly said O’Mara was great at being both a physical and elusive runner, which limited how many big hits he took over the course of the year. He said Drummond is starting to get there and is avoiding big hits from opposing defenses. Once he puts it all together, he could be even more of an asset for the Owls.

But there’s a sneaky third quality every running back needs to have in addition to toughness and seeing the field.

They’ve got to be a little bit crazy.

It takes a special kind of player to be willing to line up seven yards off the line of scrimmage and take the football at full tilt while every member of the other team is trying to tackle them.

“You definitely have to be a little bit crazy,” Drummond said. “Everybody at the running back position has a little crazy to them.”

Yet, it should go without saying, it takes a little insanity to want to tackle someone like Drummond when he’s coming downhill with a full head of steam.

Over the past few weeks, Drummond has seen his workload drop a bit as Greathouse returns to the fold.

Greathouse has had his production increased since he first came back into the lineup against Madison when he carried the ball twice for 37 yards. Over the last two games combined, he has rushed 21 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

His addition makes the Seymour ground game that much formidable running behind the Owls’ stout front.

Though the two are friends, Drummond said he’s not going to cede the position to Greathouse anytime soon. So while the big rivalry this week is Seymour vs. Brownstown Central, there may be a small one developing in the Owls’ backfield.

“There’s definitely a little bit of a rivalry, but at the same time, we can share the workload and we can both excel together,” Drummond said.

Tonight will be the first time Drummond plays meaningful varsity minutes in the Jackson Bowl. He has been around the game for a few years now and says the energy of the stadium and the moment can be draining.

The stands, the sidelines let alone the game can take its toll on you, Drummond said.

Like most players competing in this game, there’s a connection between Seymour and Brownstown, and Drummond is no different.

Part of his family lives in the Brownstown area, and they’re big Braves fans. He hopes he can help deliver a win tonight and keep the bragging rights on the Seymour side of the family.

“Winning the game would be a big deal to me and keep the rivalry on the Seymour side,” Drummond concluded.

He’ll have his work cut out for him tonight when he faces off against a Braves defense that’s only allowed 150 yards on the ground once this season.

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