Redblacks Running Back Options

The Ottawa Redblacks’ pre-season win last night came at a cost, as starting running back Will Powell left the game early and did not return. Powell could be done for the year with an Achilles injury. However, the Redblacks do have options at running back.

Redblacks Running Back Options

TraVon Van

TraVon Van impressed a lot of people in the pre-season game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He would have had a touchdown, if not for a poor out of bounds call from the ref. Van showed that he is capable of taking the starter slot with his explosiveness and his ability to dance around defenders. He made some very nice jukes to get around Blue Bomber defenders.

A knock on Van is that he looks more like a East-West runner instead of a North-South runner. However, he’s shown a good eye for the holes and will take the gaps if there are any. But when those holes don’t appear, Van struggles and becomes an East-West runner. If he plays as well as he did against Winnipeg, though, the Redblacks’ ground game should be fine.

Kienan LaFrance

Kienan LaFrance, a 6th round pick in 2015, showed he is capable to be a running back in the CFL in limited snaps against Winnipeg. However, LaFrance doesn’t show that breakout speed. He is more suited to be a backup running back in the CFL, which will be fine for the Redblacks if Van produces well enough.

Pat Lavoie and Brendan Gillanders

Pat Lavoie and Brendan Gillanders are more suited to play as tight ends and fullbacks than running backs. Either player could take a few snaps at running back to give the other backs on the squad a rest, but they are not starters for Ottawa. Becoming the Redblacks running back for this pair isn’t necessarily out of the question, though, as Marcel Dejardins said Gillanders was built like a running back and could see snaps there.

Kory Sheets

This one is rather interesting as Kory Sheets hasn’t played in the CFL since his latest departure for the NFL. After another achilles injury, Sheets is looking to get back in the CFL and be a contributor. Sheets was at a Redblacks open tryout in the USA this summer but did not get a camp invite. If Van and LaFrance can’t figure it out, Sheets might be the next best thing; if 2013 Sheets shows up, Ottawa might have one of the best running backs in the league.

NFL Cuts

The Redblacks would have to wait until at least middle to end of August to get their running back from the NFL cast-offs, which would mean half the season would be over but a very good running back for the CFL could be available.

Whatever path Ottawa chooses, they should be able to establish a stabilized run game, and the Redblacks running back should get plenty of touches in the red zone.


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