TERRE HAUTE —
When you see Indiana State running back Buck Logan on the field, especially if you’ve just seen Shakir Bell or George Cheeseborough in the backfield, it’s easy enough to see the difference.
Logan is bigger, but he’s not taller. Logan is 5-foot-9. Bell is 5-8 and Cheeseborough stands 5-7.
So how does one describe the difference between ISU’s smaller tailbacks and Logan, a junior college transfer?
“Buck is the bowling ball back there,” Bell said.
That’s as good a way to put it as any. Logan is a brickhouse compared to Bell and Cheeseborough, each of whom are more streamlined.
“They all call me that,” said Logan on Bell’s bowling ball description. “I’m just have some more weight. I can do the things they can do, but I’d rather have the ball between the tackles. I went to run through tacklers. I want to bring a different dimension to the game.”
ISU has had a recent tradition of smaller running backs. Bell, Darrius Gates and Tony West are ISU’s seasonal leading rushers who have fit that small, but deadly mold. ISU has had bruisers in the backfield, but guys like Brock Lough and Austen Wozniak were/are fullbacks.
Logan weighs in at 215 pounds. He’s a between-the-tackles pounder who will deliver punishment as well as absorb it, but doesn’t sacrifice too much speed in the process. Bell was capable of doing the same, and did so for the last two seasons, but ISU would like to avoid putting Bell through that kind of punishment.
“He plays like a big back, even though he’s not that tall,” ISU coach Mike Sanford said. He played hard, he runs hard, he breaks tackles and he’s a physical back.
“He’s a complement to the guys we have. He gives us some punch,” ISU coach Mike Sanford said.
Bell’s shoulder injury suffered at Indiana on Aug. 29 enabled ISU to take a longer look at Logan. After a cameo appearance (one carry) at Purdue, Logan announced his intentions with a team-high 85 yards rushing on 10 carries in ISU’s 70-7 destruction of Quincy on Sept. 14. Logan also had two catches for 31 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown he created out of very little on a dump-off pass by quarterback Mike Perish.
Logan’s work ethic showed through shortly after he arrived from Sacramento City College. Sanford lauded the junior for his ability to quickly learn ISU’s spread offense. As he was winning over his coaches, he was winning over his teammates too with his hard work. He quickly became one of the most well-liked players on the team.
“Buck is one of the most selfless players we have. He got in the playbook and learned everything. He got into the schemes really quick. It’s amazing how quick he transformed. It’s like he’s been here for four years,” Bell said.
Logan said the transition wasn’t as difficult as it might seem. Sacramento City College also ran a spread offense.
“It was just about the same playbook. I was comfortable from day one. I just needed some reps to get up to speed,” Logan said. “I came from a great program at Sacramento City College under Danny Walker. He prepared me for everything. I had the mindset of working hard and not forcing anything. I’m prepared to be a great change-of-pace back.”
Logan is universally known as Buck even though his given name is Lanier. The Highland Park, Mich. native said he’s been Buck for about as long as he can remember.
“It’s a childhood nickname I had from day one. My great-grandfather’s name was Buck and he passed it down to me and it stuck with me everywhere I went. Half the people I know probably don’t even know my name is Lanier,” Logan explained.
Bell’s return to action Saturday against Tennessee Tech would seem to portend that Logan and some of ISU’s other backs won’t see the field as much.
Then again, maybe Logan will find his place. Bell and Logan haven’t yet appeared in the backfield together. Might that change?
“Buck is a change-of-pace, he’s an X-factor. He runs hard and he demands a presence. He enforces his will on a defense,” Bell said. “I’m telling you, it’s going to be great to have both of us back here this year. We’re going to do some things.”