Unga in line for special-teams, third-back ro
good to seesome info on unga..
Unga in line for special-teams, third-back roles
By Brad Biggs
The Chicago Bears are short on draft picks this year, having used their seventh-round pick in the supplemental draft last summer to select Harvey Unga.
The running back from Brigham Young was sidelined before preseason started with a pulled hamstring and the team conveniently used the injury to stash him on the injured reserve list, effectively giving him a redshirt season when he might not have had the time to pick up the offense and make the 53-man roster.
Now, Unga should be prepared to tackle the playbook and more, even if there is a work stoppage. He and Kahlil Bell, who was tendered an offer as an exclusive rights free agent, are in place behind starter Matt Forte and backup Chester Taylor. The Bears had three running backs active for games last season with the third being Garrett Wolfe, who will be an unrestricted free agent.
"I just know from what I saw on tape," running backs coach Tim Spencer said. "Harvey is a big, strong kid, he has good hands, nice soft hands. You look at him and you don't think he can move, but he's got good body control. It's going to be real interesting to see him come and sort of fit in."
"He is obviously going to have to play some (special) teams and some other things to sort of earn his way in. I think he'll do all right as long as he stays healthy and keeps his weight together, and I don't know what an ideal weight would be for him but I would venture to say it's got to be 235 or 240. He's a big guy. The last time I saw him he was probably 244, so he was close."
Wolfe was a core special-teams performer and was second on the team in tackles in 2010. The third running back has to be a major contributor in this phase and it remains to be seen if Unga can do that. There's no reason to think he can't flourish for Dave Toub, though.
It will be interesting to see if Unga can find a role on offense. Taylor handled short-yardage duties for most of last season. The Bears list Unga at 6-foot, 237 pounds, and that frame at least makes you wonder if he could be a short-yardage back. It's an area the team needs to improve. In 2010, the Bears converted only 11 of 23 (48 percent) third-and-one opportunities.
"I can't really sit here and say," Spencer said. "He's a physical runner just off of what I saw in college. I don't know what he'll be once he gets here with the big boys. His body lends itself to being able to do those things, I know he can do those things based off of what I saw. And I know he can do other things off what I saw. Like I said, he has good body control, he can run good routes, the ones we ask our guys to do. It's going to be interesting."