Sep 052010

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy

September 5 Philadelphia Inquirer

“Even for an agile runner who makes his living on sharp changes of direction, LeSean McCoy’s rise has been neck-snappingly quick.

In fewer than 20 months he went from a sophomore star playing in the Sun Bowl to the Eagles‘ starting running back.

“I never thought my second year I’d be starting,” McCoy said.

Just 22, McCoy this summer inherited a job once held by the venerated Brian Westbrook. After starting four games in 2009, and setting an Eagles rookie rushing record of 637 yards, the elusive back nicknamed “Shady” is looking to shine for 16 games.

That means more carries, more pass routes, and, less glamorously, more blocking responsibility.

“You’ve got to be able to protect No. 4,” fullback Leonard Weaver said, referring to quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Former Eagles running back Duce Staley has helped McCoy in that regard. Staley, an Eagles coaching intern this summer, has taught the younger back to survey the field like a quarterback, deciphering the movement of the safeties, McCoy said.

McCoy – “cutondime” in the Twitter world – said he spent the off-season working on his lower body strength at the NovaCare Complex, pumping through squats and other lower-body exercises to help him break tackles and last through the NFL grind. As a rookie, the 16-game season wore him down.

“Later in the season, I hit that wall a little bit,” he said. “It was hard for me just physically, my body was tired.”

So far in 2010, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has seen a more assertive runner. McCoy, he said, has been helped by a year in the Eagles‘ offense.

“When you’re thinking too much you tend not to play quite as fast or as physical. He feels very comfortable, and he’s playing fast and physical,” Mornhinweg said.

McCoy, noticeably slimmer in his upper body than his fellow backs, proved durable in a brief college career. As a sophomore he combined for 340 rushes and receptions.”

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