Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 31, 2013

Dynamic 'Dash'

Tahlequah's Brandon Conrad to play important roles on both offense and defense in 2013.

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

No one is going to confuse them with Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Yet, Tahlequah’s duo of Brandon Conrad and Colton Wright is taking on the moniker coined by the recently-successful Tennessee Titans tandem.

“We just call each other Smash and Dash,” Conrad said. “It’s that one-two combo that really helps.”

And just to be clear, Conrad and Wright didn’t swipe the nickname from the professional pair.

“We just thought of it one day out of the blue,” Conrad said.

For Conrad, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound tailback will be partnered up again in the backfield yet again this season. In 2012, Conrad spelled Mason McMillan on occasions.

Don’t worry, Conrad and McMillan had their own nickname.

“When we went to (a two back set),” Conrad, “we called ourselves Black Ops.”

With all names aside, Conrad — a senior this year — will be forced to take on a much heavier burden in the Tigers’ offense in 2013. While the amount of carries is still unknown, it will still be up to Conrad and Wright to fill the void left by McMillan — who left as Tahlequah’s single-season rushing record holder.

“We see a big dynamic in him,” Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said of Conrad. “He provides big plays, offensively. He’ll also be playing every snap on defense, so we’ll have to limit the amount of carries he gets on offense.”

Easier said than done, considering Gilbert’s high praise of Conrad’s ability once the pigskin is in his grasp.

“When he has the ball,” Gilbert said, “good things happen for this football team.”

Conrad’s elusiveness, coupled with a pair of mobile quarterbacks in David Dick and Will Carlile, has Conrad promising high hopes for the Tigers’ offense once the season gets started in September.

“We have a chance to put up a lot of points this year,” said Conrad, who averaged 10.3 yards per carry while logging close to 300 yards rushing during his junior campaign.

“We should be able to score on just about any team we play.”

The key, however, will be for Tahlequah to thwart an opponent’s offense. Thus the decision to move Conrad from safety to cornerback this year.

“He has started 20 games at safety,” Gilbert said. “Now we’re moving him to corner. We’re asking him to shut down some of the better wide receivers of our opponents.”

Conrad has certainly signed off on the defensive switch.

“I feel really comfortable at corner,” he said. “I love it. Sometimes I miss safety, when I was around free safety. But I like playing corner.”

To add to Conrad’s workload, he could even log time at wide receiver. It just depends on the timing and the defenses’ alignment, Gilbert said.

“There may be a chance of him getting the ball at wide receiver,” Gilbert said. “I know this, he feels better getting the ball immediately. I’m not saying he can’t catch the ball, I’m just saying Brandon likes to get the ball immediately in the backfield.”

And as Gilbert pointed out, what’s when good things happen for the Tigers.

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