WATCH: Hard-charging Georgia RB Brian Herrien likes tough runs, ‘Dawg Yards’
ATHENS — Georgia tailback Brian Herrien doesn’t apologize for his no-frills running style. He embraces it, and he emphasizes it.
“My running style, I kind of like to bruise,” Herrien explained during his media session this week. “I kind of just want to hit the defense as much as I can so then as the game goes on, the defense isn’t going to want to come back making the same tackles.
“They’ll kind of get to the side, hesitate a little bit and at that point, I can just run by them.”
That’s what happened in the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs’ 43-14 win over Tennessee, Herrien hammering the Big Orange front to a pulp en route to a game-high and career-high 88 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Herrien is not the biggest back, listed at 6-foot and 210 pounds, but his power and determination are obvious.
“He runs really hard, I mean, he runs physical and explosive,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “To be honest with you, he practices that way. So, when he goes out to practice, he doesn’t treat practice different than a game.
“I think those practice habits have allowed him to be successful in games. It’s just you guys are getting able to see it now.”
No doubt, Herrien had a team-high 75 total yards and a TD in the G-Day Game, knocking NFL-caliber teammate J.R. Reed to the ground with a stiff arm.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) April 21, 2019
Herrien has spent the majority of his UGA playing career in the shadows of starting NFL running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift received top billing entering this season.
But Herrien has emerged as Georgia’s top back in short yardage against Power 5 competition, and his career-long 40-yard run against the Vols was arguably the best by a Bulldogs’ runner this season.
Brian Herrien @brianherrienn with an amazing run!!!
— HRKK (HiRo KatsuKi) (@KatsukiFB) October 6, 2019
At least six, and maybe seven, Tennessee players got a hand on Herrien before he finally went down.
Herrien, who along with Swift shares the team lead with four rushing touchdowns, says he brings a different mindset into short-yardage situations.
“It’s just my attitude, once I’m on the field, I like to think to myself that I don’t think anybody can stop me,” Herrien said. “A lot of people like to wait and hesitate, so I’m just going to go ahead and go in and get those yards early and fast.
“I like to keep my feet moving …. I know if I keep my feet moving and stay low enough that I’ll probably get the yards.”
Smart, who named Herrien and QB Jake Fromm the offensive players of the week for their performances against the Vols, isn’t surprised by Herrien’s success.
“The Brian that I’m seeing now is the Brian I’ve always seen,” Smart said. “The difference is you guys are seeing him. You say, why didn’t he play? The guys that are in the NFL is the reason he didn’t play.
“Brian has been perfectly capable. And when he got that opportunity, he seizes his opportunity the times he got in the past.”
Herrien has 40 carries for 251 yards this season — nearly matching his rushing totals from 14 games last season, and eclipsing his TD mark (50 carries, 295 yards, 3 TD in 2018).
As exciting as Herrien’s 40-yard run was, he said he typically is most pleased with his shorter runs, and he explained why.
“My favorite runs usually aren’t the longest runs, they are the hardest ones, like the tough ones that shouldn’t have been a gain, or should’ve been a loss and kind of get back to the line of scrimmage or a gain a couple yards,” Herrien said.
The long runs are fine, “as long as you hang on to the ball and protect yourself as well, (because) it would be a tragedy to have a very long run and lose the ball.”
But the short runs, which Herrien says the backs refer to as “Dawg Yards,” are special.
“If the offensive line opens a big hole and you run through it, that’s kind of like the offensive line’s part,” Herrien explained. “But the Dawg Yards come from you when you get contact and you still break the tackle or you make somebody miss and after contact you get yards, that’s Dawg Yards.
“We want the runs like that instead of the open hole. We want to work for a lot of them.”
Herrien has worked hard for every opportunity he has received, and he’s making the most of every snap this season.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) March 29, 2019
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