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Todman pushing for role

Posted Aug 15, 2011

The rookie running back out of Connecticut handled the football more often than any other Chargers player during the preseason opener. He’s hoping to find a role in the backfield behind Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert.

SAN DIEGO – The third running back in Head Coach Norv Turner’s offense averaged 40 offensive touches a season during his first three years in San Diego.

Last year, the number jolted to 109 (Darren Sproles). More than half of those came on receptions. Three backs topped the century mark for offensive touches.

Turner may not intend for that to repeat itself this season, but receptions out of the backfield could increase for Ryan Mathews, who caught 22 passes last season. Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester also combined for 47 receptions.

Another player vying for a roster spot and a role on the team is sixth-round draft pick Jordan Todman. A shifty 5-foot-9, 193 pounds, Todman caught 40 passes in his final two seasons at Connecticut.

He caught all four thrown his way Thursday for 21 yards. Known for his elusive speed in the open field and often producing big plays in college by bouncing outside, Todman also carried six times against the Seahawks for 30 yards, many of which came inside the numbers.

“He made a good impression. He’s a good inside runner,” Turner said. “He’s got very good quickness. He caught the ball well when it was thrown to him. He’s really what we hoped he’d be in looking at him in practice and in this game.”

Confident in his open-field running ability, Todman is concentrating on developing as a receiver.

“I feel like I can have a third-down place. Having the ability to make people miss and being fast and catching the ball, that translates,” Todman said. “When I’m in the open field I know I can make people miss and be a playmaker naturally; I’ve just got to get into that spot.”

Playing running back on third down often means being able to offer help in pass protection. Todman, 25 pounds lighter than Mathews and 50 less than Tolbert, knows he must be proficient at more than running and catching.

“If you’re not good at pass pro and you can’t get the job done, I’m pretty sure the coach won’t put you on the field, so if you want to play you have to be a well-rounded athlete and player,” Todman said. “You have to be able to catch the ball, make plays, read the holes and also be able to block. I’m on the grind just trying to get better at everything.”

Todman acknowledged having to process a lot of information in a short amount of time, but understands the importance of staying focused in meetings, taking notes that he studies at night in the team hotel.

“I’ve got to come with my ‘A’ game every time,” Todman said. “I’m playing against the best of the best now. It’s not college. Only fortunate people play at this level so hard work in the weight room, knowing my playbook, playing full speed and just being able to make plays, that’s a good way to find yourself on the field.”

OFFENSIVE TOUCHES, THIRD RBs UNDER TURNER
Year Name Carries/Rec. Total Touches
2010 Darren Sproles 50/59 109
2009 Mike Tolbert 25/17 42
2008 Jacob Hester 19/12 31
2007 Darren Sproles 37/10 47
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