DALLAS — It’s been since 1973 when Iowa State last had a player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Running back George Amundson was selected 14th overall by the Houston Oilers.
FOX college football commentator Robert Smith knows a thing or two about elite running backs. Smith, the 21st pick in the 1993 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, was a two-time Pro Bowler in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings during his injury shortened career from 1993-2000.
Smith, who led the NFL in rushing in 2000 with 1,521 yards, loves Montgomery and believes he will be the guy to snap Iowa State’s streak.
“He is an absolute workhorse and has all of the characteristics that you want out of a great back,” Smith said. “Excellent balance, speed, power. He is certainly the guy who can break that streak.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Montgomery forced an impressive 86 missed tackles last season on 258 carries. Altogether, Montgomery forced 109 missed tackles on the season when you combine carries and receptions, which means two things.
1) He’s really good.
2) The line was … not so much.
“Sometimes it’s BYOB, be your own blocker,” Smith said. “It’s the vision. Seeing when guys are slipping off of blocks and knowing how to approach defenders. He always does a great job of that. He always kind of presents the pads first or the helmet first when he approaches a defender so it’s hard to get a wrap around him. It’s the vision, the strength but also the lateral movement.”
Smith is clearly a fan, and rightfully so. He also believes that Montgomery, who was voted Preseason First-Team All-Big 12 by the media last week, possesses a running style with at quick twitch that doesn’t allow defensive players to get direct hits. That will be important to Montgomery avoiding the wear down factor come November.
“Not presenting a great target to hit is the key,” Smith said. “You’re going to get hit. It’s the type of hits that lead to the injuries.”