An Interview with The Band Is Out On The Field

Bills rookie RB Marshawn Lynch

Good morning, everybody! Day Two of the Draft starts in three hours, and coverage at Buffalo Rumblings will be the same as it was yesterday - IMMEDIATE pick analysis, news tidbits and lots more chatter! It was great to see everyone out talking about the draft yesterday - record numbers visiting our site yesterday! Hope to see most of you back today; keep up the good work, everybody!

Let's talk about Marshawn Lynch. SB Nation has a fantastic University of California blog called The Band Is Out On the Field, named obviously after the famous Cal/Stanford play. Kevin, the author of that blog, was generous enough to field a few questions I had about Marshawn Lynch last night - and the information he provided us was absolutely spectacular and has me thrilled about adding Lynch to our backfield. Here's the interview:

Buffalo Rumblings: We plan on using a two-back system in Buffalo; how do you see Lynch working in conjunction with another RB? How do you think his skill set benefits the Bills and help them replace Willis McGahee?

The Band Is Out On The Field: He basically played in a two-back system in college. The last two seasons, he has been the clear No. 1, but backup Justin Forsett has had a ton of carries, rushing for nearly 1000 yards in 2005 and 626 yards in 2006. Lynch was hurt for part of 2005, but Forsett, pretty consistently had 10 carries per game.

I think he pretty much can do anything on the field. In 2004, behind J.J. Arrington, who ran for 2000 yards, Lynch was used strictly as a playmaker scoring 10 touchdowns on only 90 touches (including like 8.8 yards per rush). Both of those numbers were about equal to Reggie Bush as a freshman, but weren't hyped as much because Bush preceded him by just one season. Lynch frequently lined up in the slot and even as a wide receiver, not just as a decoy, but because he has amazing hands and runs routes well. A two-back system will benefit him only because he has never been an every down back like Adrian Peterson, because Cal had such a wealth of talent at the position (with no statistical backing, I would say that over the last four seasons, the Bears have had the best running game in the nation.) That being said, in numerous games during his career, he took the entire team on his shoulders.

BR: Lynch reportedly has some character concerns. How do you see these character concerns affecting him as a player (if they're relevant at all)? How good of a teammate was Lynch in his time at Cal?

The Band Is Out On The Field: I don't see the "character issues" as being relevant. Three factors seem to have contributed to this leading up to the draft. First, last summer he was in a car that was shot at in Oakland. Someone who knew the shooter actually called Mama Lynch (who everyone will get to know really well) to apologize. Second, an ex-girlfriend attempted to charge him with assault immediately after the season was over. No charges were filed due to inconsistencies in his story. I don't really know anything that wasn't covered in the news, but coming from Oakland it is easy to understand how someone on the verge of becoming very rich would end up in this situation. Finally, Lynch is just genrally a flashy guy. He wears a gold grill on the field. He drove around an injury cart wrecklessly (but also hilariously) after pretty much single-handedly beating Washington this past season. I think some people have mistakenly taken these events together and gotten the wrong impression.

As someone who actually knew Lynch when I was covering the team my thoughts are very different. From just about his first day on team, he was known as the team jokester, keeping everyone loose as a Freshman on a team ranked No. 4 in the nation. He is incredibly humble, never talks about himself, but will go on at great length about his teammates or his younger brother Boo-Boo. According to all reports I have read, his mom and brother are moving with him to Buffalo. To summarize, the only thing he has in common with Pac-Man Jones is his hair.

BR: Lynch has a wide variety of skills, and is a very good all-around back. What is it that makes Lynch stand out above other running backs and what do you believe to be his most valuable asset to a football team?

The Band Is Out On The Field: The thing that makes him different than other backs is his elusiveness and determination. He is amazingly agile (especially for his size) and constantly makes guys miss. He also isn't afraid of contact at all. According to his teammates, he actually laughs when he gets hit. It wasn't uncommon for him to pop out of a group of 5-6 defenders and find his way into open space. The only knock anyone ever had on Lynch in Berkeley is that he was too reluctant to go down. People thought he would have a major injury someday if he kept pushing huge piles by himself. Lots of draftniks mentioned his speed not being spectacular, but no one in three seasons ever was able to bring him down in the open field, or chase him down from behind.

He is an absolute joy to watch, and I would put my money on him making an immediate impact. He has the potential to be an absolute superstar. He frankly did lots of things on the field that I had never seen before, and probably won't see again.

**********

A big thank-you to Kevin for providing this fantastic information on our new RB Marshawn Lynch. Head on over to his site to thank him yourself personally, Bills fans! On a side note, I was also able to make contact with the Penn State blogger here and he was kind enough to answer some questions about Paul Posluszny; you'll see that interview a bit later on this morning as we get closer to the 11AM start time.

Looking forward to another great day! Go Bills!

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