Somebody recently called Boise State running back Doug Martin “kind of quiet.”
That’s like saying Usain Bolt is “kind of fast.”
A 5-foot-10, 200-pound redshirt freshman from Stockton, Calif., Martin speaks softly (and sparingly) when he talks about his chances of playing in a backfield that already features senior star Ian Johnson and talented sophomores Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper. It’s not that Martin is uncooperative. To the contrary, he’s pleasant and friendly. But to get him to say much of anything is like asking Will Ferrell to get serious.
So, Doug, what are your thoughts on how many carries you’ll get this season?
“We all have different [running] styles, so it will depend on whatever situation [on a certain play] fits our style.”
Do you think you’ll be able to crack the starting lineup given the running backs who are returning?
Do you think you’ll get frustrated if the other three guys hoard the ball-carrying duties?
“Frustrated? No, I know I need to be patient.”
So, Doug, what are your personal goals this year?
“To be consistent and do my job.”
Ohh-kaay. Since Martin didn’t feel much like talking, we went to his coaches.
Here’s what head coach Chris Petersen said about Martin: “Not only is he physically gifted, but he’s also got about as good a work ethic as anybody on our team, and that’s saying something because I think a lot of our guys work hard. Doug’s got an edge to him and a chip on his shoulder, but he doesn’t say two words out there [during practice]. He just goes hard on every play.”
So, Doug, what do you think about Petersen’s comments:
(Pause) “Hmm.” (Another pause) “Pretty accurate.”
Anything else in response to Coach Pete’s high praise?
Martin may be reserved and reticent, but Petersen and running backs coach Jeff Choate have no problem singing his praises. They both consider Martin who rushed for a combined 3,184 yards and scored 33 touchdowns his junior and senior seasons in high school a budding star for the Broncos.
And even though Johnson, Avery and Harper combined for 2,089 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, both coaches have big plans for Martin, including kickoff return duties, this year.
“Doug’s time will come sooner or later, he’s going play and get on the field this fall,” Petersen said. “I think he’s going be on every single special team and be a force there. We’re going to get him the ball at tailback and line him up at fullback; do whatever we can do to get him on the field as much as possible because he’s something special. He’s going to be an exciting player down the road.”
Choate agrees. “He’s a special kid, one of our best athletes, and pound for pound one of the strongest players on the team. We just need to be creative in ways to get him on the field and give him the opportunity to showcase his abilities.”
But coach, what about that quiet demeanor? Is he maybe too reserved?
“Maybe he doesn’t talk a lot, but I don’t see that quiet side that much,” Choate replied. “He lets his performance speak for itself. He’s not the type of kid who’s going to talk a lot about his accomplishments or his abilities. He just goes out and plays.
“I think he’s very respectful. His parents raised him very well. I see a young man who enjoys what he’s doing and plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm. You can see that in practice. He’s always hopping around. He brings a lot of positive energy, and that’s contagious among his teammates”
Positive energy in a quiet, unassuming way.