Neil Hayes on November 1, 2010 9:47 PM
Using former college running back and current defensive lineman Henry Melton in short-yardage situations has been widely considered outside Halas Hall but has not been the subject of an internal debate, according to coach Lovie Smith.
"Henry is still a developing football player," Smith said. "He's playing inside [at defensive tackle] and outside [at end] and on special teams. He hasn't mastered the defensive line positions yet. We'll continue to let him develop and leave running the ball to the running backs right now."
The Bears are 0-for-10 from an opponent's one-yard line this season, which is something the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Melton may be able to remedy. Melton was an effective short-yardage back during his first two-plus seasons at the University of Texas before switching to the defensive line midway through his junior year. In all, he scored 16 touchdowns for the Longhorns.
"Defense is my spot," Melton said. "If the team needs me to help out somewhere I'm more than willing to do it."
Melton said he would not have to re-learn the "subtleties" of the position because there are none.
"I've been doing for years," said Melton, who was a second-team All-American running back in high school. "You just put the ball in your arm, hold it tight and run over whoever is in your way, right?"