Jared Ruffing was just getting comfortable with the change. The Dayton Flyers redshirt sophomore moved from running back to wide receiver last spring after figuring out there were too many guys in front of him in the backfield.
Ruffing returns to a familiar role this week against San Diego, becoming the fourth player to start at running back in four games for the Flyers.
“I’m just doing what’s better for the team,” he said. “I still feel like I have my footwork and my speed so I’m excited to go back to running back.”
Doing what’s best for the team is nothing new for Ruffing. A running back and corner back at Hudson High School near Cleveland, Ruffing also played some defensive line as an emergency fill-in. He played it so well he was voted defensive lineman of the year in the conference.
Tucker Yinger started the season as the Flyers’ top runner, but he hurt his shoulder against Central State. Jack Adams took over in Week 2 and he went down with a stinger that flared up again last week. Freshman Sean Prophit started against Duquesne and left with an ankle injury.
Dayton coach Rick Chamberlin admits the lack of depth at running back puts some pressure on the offense.
“We felt like Jared would be the best move for us this week,” Chamberlin said. “He ran the ball in high school and his first two years here. He knows what we do and what we expect our running backs to contribute.”
Ruffing has switched between running back and receiver four times in his three seasons at Dayton, but wherever he lines up there is always one thing in common.
“I like having the ball in my hands and being able to make plays,” he said. “I’d say I’m a hybrid between running back and receiver. I can do either one and I’m excited about doing that on Saturday.”
Dayton and San Diego have won or shared the Pioneer Football League title 19 times in its 24-year existence.
On the road again
The long trip west is usually an advantage for the home team, but the Flyers have had their share of success, too. Dayton is 7-4 at San Diego. The home team has won the last four games in the series.
By the numbers
Dayton and San Diego are near the bottom of the PFL in scoring through three weeks, but both are among the leaders in keeping points off the scoreboard. The Torreros lead the league in third-down conversions, producing first downs 46 percent of the time.