FOOTBALL: Orsbon ready to block for Cards' running backs

With Ball State University's offense focused on the rushing attack, wide receiver Briggs Orsbon has had to adjust his role.

Orsbon has been the Cardinals' leading receiver the past two years, but without Kelly Page leading the offense, receptions have been hard to come by. In 2 1/2 games since taking over for Page, Tanner Justice has just 14 completions.

Ball State's new run-first scheme has forced Orsbon and the other wide receivers to do more blocking.

"I just go out there and work hard, mostly working on my blocking," Orsbon said. "We're running the ball about 50 times a game it seems like. I'm just doing what I can to spring the touchdowns for [MiQuale Lewis] and those guys back there."

Orsbon caught at least one pass in his first 21 games at Ball State. That streak came to an end in Ball State's lone victory this season at Eastern Michigan University. In the 29-27 win, the Cardinals had only one passing yard on two completions. However, Orsbon helped clear the way for Lewis and Cory Sykes to set an NCAA record for most rushing yards by a pair of teammates.

Orsbon said blocking isn't very difficult.

"It doesn't take a whole lot of technique," Orsbon said. "It's seems like it's more effort. There's not any reason to let up when you go out there and block guys."

Coach Stan Parrish said to be competitive in the final three games, Ball State must develop a better passing game.

"We're not going to be a passing team," Parrish said. "We've got to move him around and be creative with that. I wish I had a magic answer."

Since Page was injured, Ball State has just 171 passing yards. With Page, the Cardinals were averaging 145.57 yards per game.

Justice said he wanted to get Orsbon more involved in the offense.

"I don't want to be too specific," Justice said. "All the receivers, but a highlight on him, I guess you could say."

Parrish said it's more important that the passing game work in the clutch than put up big numbers.

"If we get a couple of critical completions and get the ball in in the red zone, I don't think numbers are even relevant," Parrish said.

Also key to getting the wide receivers back into the game is finding plays Justice can run. The senior said his confidence with the receivers was improving.

"Especially now that we've got some plays I'm more comfortable with throwing the ball," Justice said. "It just takes time."

Orsbon said the Cardinals have put more easy throws into the gameplan.

"We're just working on some shorter routes," he said. "A young line, a first-year quarterback, we're just working on shorter plays to build the confidence of the quarterback."


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