News: Mosley: Bickerstaff finds some room to run

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Gooch, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Gooch

    Gooch E-Dog

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    Matt Mosley: Bickerstaff finds some room to run
    08:02 PM CDT on Monday, May 31, 2004
    By MATT MOSLEY / The Dallas Morning News

    Cowboys running back Erik Bickerstaff was standing on the Valley Ranch practice field two weeks ago when he saw Bill Parcells making a beeline toward him. For a player clinging to a roster spot, it qualified as a Maalox moment.

    Parcells lifted his arms and twice shouted, “What are you going to do?”

    A startled Bickerstaff eventually realized that Parcells was referring to Troy Hambrick’s release. And he wanted to find out how Bickerstaff would respond.

    “I told him I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity,” Bickerstaff said. “I’m the only big back we have left.”

    Bickerstaff, who was basically brought in as an extra body during last year’s training camp, has a chance to join a rotation that could include rookie Julius Jones and Richie Anderson.

    When he got the call to come to San Antonio last August, he was serving as a janitor at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium. An unheralded player at Wisconsin, Bickerstaff missed his senior season for academic reasons.

    He benefited from injuries to running backs ReShard Lee and Michael Wiley in training camp and showed enough talent in preseason to stick around. Even though he often had no clue where to go, he got there fast. And when he got demoted to the practice squad during the season, he took his frustration out on the first-team defense in practice. Late in the season, Bickerstaff was brought up to spark an anemic running game.

    This off-season, Bickerstaff sought advice from Anderson on dieting. He’s discovered that lettuce isn’t just something you take off a hamburger. He’s now weighing a lean 235 pounds.

    Bickerstaff hasn’t taken much of a pounding over the past few years, mainly because no one has given him the ball. His one carry in college went for two yards.

    “I feel so fresh,” Bickerstaff said. “I could run for days. I hope they see that.”

    Bickerstaff shows up at 10 a.m. each day at Valley Ranch because he likes working out with the receivers and defensive backs. He believes that working out with those players has made him faster.

    “I try to keep up with [cornerback] Terence Newman,” Bickerstaff said. “My goal is to always finish in the top two in conditioning drills.”

    On off days, Bickerstaff joins backup quarterback Tony Romo at Valley Ranch to work on catching passes. It’s something he never had a chance to do at Wisconsin.

    In the afternoons, he sits in a Valley Ranch film room by himself and watches Washington’s Clinton Portis and Baltimore’s Jamal Lewis. He loves watching Lewis’ record-breaking game against Cleveland.

    “It’s good for me to watch big backs, because I want to be a punisher,” Bickerstaff said. “But I also like watching Portis. I wish I could do the things he does.”

    Everyone assumes that Jones will get the majority of the carries this season, but Parcells has talked about using a running back-by-committee.

    Bickerstaff isn’t looking to chair the committee. He’d just like a spot at the table.
  2. hockix

    hockix Active Member

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    Thanks E.
    The training camp should be pretty interesting for him.
  3. Gaede

    Gaede Well-Known Member

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    I'm cheering for him...
  4. Ken

    Ken Well-Known Member

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    It is good to hear he is working hard and being considered for a spot.

    He really did show some things last year in real games, he should be able to build off of that with an offseason under his belt.

    He could be a player.
  5. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    Bickerstaff is really working hard on all areas of his game.

    BP's got to love that Bicker. has reduced on his own and is improving his receiving skills.

    It's hard not to root for the underdog.
  6. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Interesting that they didn't even mention Lee as part of the group fighting for the job?
    I liek the fact that all these guys are hungry and have something to prove...(Minus Anderson)
  7. Gooch

    Gooch E-Dog

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    I did get a chuckle about Bickerstaff being caught off guard by Parcells. If I had Parcells waving his arms and screaming "what are you going to do" at me, I think I'd soil myself.
  8. Nightshade

    Nightshade Active Member

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    Great read!
    Thanks E
  9. numnuts23

    numnuts23 Well-Known Member

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    Heck, almost did sitting here reading the article....but I think the Burrito from last night might also have something to do with that.
  10. doomsday_II

    doomsday_II Member

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    Here's a clip of a nice piece on Bicker.

    "Bickerstaff was offered a track scholarship at Division I Northern Iowa, where he also would have been allowed to play football. He chose to attend Wisconsin without an athletic scholarship because it was closer to home. "I just wanted to stay in the state and prove what I could do," Bickerstaff said Tuesday. "The decision came because of the support of Coach Ingram and my family. I wanted to stay in Wisconsin so I could see them."

    In Bickerstaff, the Badgers get one of the state's most gifted athletes from the Class of '98, but one who lost his athletic eligibility in May 1997 because of repeated athletic code violations. He said the violations involved drinking alcohol.

    His academic ability has never been questioned, however.

    A running back and linebacker in high school, Bickerstaff rushed for 1,519 yards in 182 carries (an 8.3-yard average) as a junior and was named second-team all-state on offense by the Journal Sentinel and The Associated Press.

    On the track, he won the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 state title in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles as a sophomore. He was a favorite to repeat in that event before losing his eligibility one week before the 1997 state meet."

    Bickerstaff would of been highly recruited not for that drinking incident. Then he got swiched to fullback because the Badgers were loaded at tailback. Hopefully shedding some weight will bring back some track speed.
  11. ddh33

    ddh33 Active Member

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    I'll be rooting for him. He's such a good story. In the end, he should be able to do just about anything Hambrick did.
  12. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I am too, nice article and nice kid.
  13. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Julius Jones better be the real deal or we are screwed.
  14. TheHustler

    TheHustler Active Member

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    is it just me, or is anyone else worried a janitor is our #2 rb?
  15. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    He had a 2.9 ypc versus Tham'S 3.5 last year (CAREER 4.0)

    He's Golden and Tham sucked - go figure
  16. doomsday_II

    doomsday_II Member

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    Not when our #2 will be no worse than last years #1, and most likely better since a hashmark won't trip him.
  17. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    He was a go to once back.

    One college career rush - "he's rested!"
  18. speedkilz88

    speedkilz88 Well-Known Member

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    Your real name wouldn't be Willie Blade, would it? :)
  19. Gooch

    Gooch E-Dog

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    Unforunately, "Willie the Pooh" and I aren't releated. If we were, I would have hit him up for tickets long ago.
  20. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    Wouldn't surprise me to see a surprise or two at RB this year. Hope Parcells has trouble picking someone due to talent overload not the reverse.

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