VANCOUVER -- Averaging just under 40 rushing yards per game in his last nine outings, Andrew Harris’ season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.
But stats can be somewhat deceiving.
In that same span, Harris has been averaging just 10 carries per game, a stark contrast to Jon Cornish’s 15 and Kory Sheets’ 18.
Harris, however, has made his name by being a true dual-threat back. As of now, the Winnipeg native sits fourth on the Lions in receiving yards with 414 on 50 receptions.
Through 14 games last season, Harris had already hauled in 67 catches for an impressive 629 yards.
Is his downturn in production a simple case of not being utilized as much as last season?
His head coach seems to think so.
“Right now it’s not certainly where I want it to be and certainly last week the running backs did not get enough opportunities but ultimately it comes down to me,” Mike Benevides told BCLions.com.
“Right now it’s a work in progress, we had some plays out of the quarterback and receivers but we need to get it from the running back position and we are working to that end, we have to be better.”
Take this stat into account: In 2012, Harris and the Lions run game was tops in the CFL, rushing for 124.9 yards per game on 367 total carries.
This year, BC is currently averaging just 98.9 yards on the ground per game, and are currently on pace to record 344 attempts.
Benevides, however, isn’t even close to pinning the blame on Harris, or anyone other than himself for the team’s troubled ground attack.
“All of it, like I said starts and ends with me. It is something we are working hard at and we need to get that on track. It’s been there at times but not consistent enough and I got to get that fixed,” he said.
It's possible that BC's trouble on the ground can be connected to their problems offensively as an entire unit.
These ‘problems’, however, are ones that can most definitely be corrected.
As Benevides explains, execution is key.
“The biggest thing is that if you don’t play a clean game, if you miss opportunities for points and if you let a team stick around and if you can’t make up the deficit that’s tough to do,” he said.
“You can’t hurt yourself with penalties and mistakes. When you get a chance to protect the football, when you get a chance to score points, when you get a chance to make plays you’ve got to make that happen.”