Could Clyde Newton be a factor at running back? It’s possible #iufb

Clyde Newton, a physical and punishing linebacker, wants to play running back.

Kevin Wilson is willing to give him that chance.

The Indiana coach said this week that Newton will split time between both positions once fall camp opens next week, potentially giving the Hoosiers an added dose of power in short-yardage situations this season.

After IU wrapped spring practice, Newton asked Wilson if he could move to offense, and after consulting with his defensive coaches, Wilson believes he can find just the right niche for the senior.

“I’m excited about it,” Wilson said. “He’s had a good summer. He’s strong and he looks great. We’re not going to become a two-back team, but sometimes in short-yardage, goal-line offense, four-minute offense (it) can be a little tough when you’re a spread team. Hopefully big Tyler Natee and Clyde can give us a little bit more.”

Either as runners or lead blockers, Newton and Natee would add some heft to Indiana’s backfield.

Newton, a senior who started all 13 games at strong-side linebacker last fall, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds. Natee, a 6-foot incoming freshman, tips the scales at 260 pounds.

Newton has a background in the backfield, where he rushed for 1,938 yards, averaged 8.4 yards per carry and scored 23 touchdowns as a senior at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Fla.

He holds the Charlotte school record for most 200-yard games (seven) and yards in a game (299).

“My thing with Clyde was, ‘I can’t have a senior be negative. I can’t guarantee you’re going to be positive as a running back,'” Wilson said. “He said, ‘Coach, just give me a shot.’ I said OK. I went back to our defensive coaches and said, ‘Are y’all good with that?’ because now we are taking a senior away from the linebacking corps. I think our defensive coaches feel like we may need him for big boy defense. We’ll see as we get into it how much Clyde can handle.”

Indeed, Newton’s services probably won’t be exclusive to offense. If IU is facing a team with a more traditional, power offense, then more physical guys like Newton and T.J. Simmons might be needed as an extra linebacker in the 4-2-5.

Last season, Newton posted 50 tackles, including 28 solo stops and two for loss.

Tegray Scales and Marcus Oliver are the anticipated starters at linebacker, though Simmons, Chris Covington, Dameon Willis and Reakwon Jones are also in the mix.

“If we’re playing some of the teams that traditionally go bigger, we might need Clyde at linebacker,” Wilson said. “But right now, that’s probably one-fifth of your schedule, maybe less than that.”

5 comments

  1. Looking at last years films I was wondering how much we would miss Howard this season. Newton may be a back much like Howard was which would be a good option for IU. Redding is a good RB but he hasn’t shown himself to be a power runner. Having a power runner just makes the offense more versatile and more productive in short yardage situations. I think Newton can be a good bridge at power back until Patrick is healthy enough to return.

  2. KW joked that they have the all big ten kicker because he got too many chances to kick field goals. As productive as this offense was last year, they weren’t that good on short yardage and redzone efficiency. I’d like to see them go to some 2 back sets for those occasions. They should copy what Baylor was doing with the Veer and Shoot offense where you are running 2 backs out of the spread. It seems really effective for the short yardage and goal line situations.

  3. Newton is from Punta Gorda, Fl. I lived there for many years & PG seemed to always have strong teams, usually in contention for the state title. The coach during those years moved to Indiana and is the coach at Center Grove High School.. Again with strong teams and usually in contention for the state title.

  4. He is a Senior, athletic LB and has a good past history at RB. No reason he can’t do both. Am very interested in seeing Natee and Gest perform though.

  5. 123, I agree about using some 2 back sets much the way Baylor does. IU needs to do something to improve their TD production and short yardage production. Between the shortcomings in short yardage and goal line short comings, IU needs to try something different. Watching the Spring Game the answer may be Lagow’s passing as he was very accurate in the red zone. I wouldn’t limit TD production just to Lagow’s arm when I could change formations to improve our chances.

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