How yoga is helping TCU’s Darius Anderson become a complete back

TCU running back Darius Anderson is known for his jets.

He showcased that on Saturday night, using his speed to rush for a career-high 179 yards and two touchdowns in the Frogs’ 34-13 victory at Purdue.

But Anderson wants to be known for more than just his speed. He’d like NFL teams to view him as a complete running back and spent time working on his pass protection this offseason.

How so? Yoga of all things.

“In that department, I just got stronger,” Anderson said after the Purdue game. “I did a lot of body control and yoga and all of that stuff. It just helped me control my body.

“[Pass protection] was a big thing I wanted to work on.”

Yoga is becoming more popular among football players these days and Anderson is the latest example.

For Anderson, becoming a more complete back will only help No. 25 TCU this season and his NFL stock in the future. He doesn’t want to be a liability in pass protection.

Of course most have seen what Anderson can do when the ball gets in his hands in the running game or passing game -- he’s an electric playmaker.

Anderson found a crease and the end zone to spark TCU’s offense on a 32-yard TD run against Purdue in the first quarter on Saturday.

“I just saw it open up,” Anderson said. “The line kicked them out, I saw the big hole, I saw the end zone and had to get to it.”

He got to it again in the second half on an 8-yard TD run that sealed TCU’s victory. In between those TD runs, Anderson produced “explosive” runs of 18, 27, 12 and 37 yards.

Of TCU’s nine “explosive” plays (runs of 12-plus yards and passes of 16-plus yards), Anderson accounted for five. It’s no surprise he was named the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award co-player of the week on Tuesday.

Fellow running back Sewo Olonilua finished with 106 yards on 18 carries with a TD. The story of the day was TCU’s running game piling up 346 yards on the ground.

“Two-headed monster,” TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney described afterward. “One’s speed [Anderson]. One’s power [Olonilua]. You can’t stop them.”

Anderson finished the night averaging 11.2 yards per carry, and now has a career average of 5.99 yards per carry. That’s a better number than TCU great LaDainian Tomlinson (5.80).

Anderson credited the offensive line for his success, and also acknowledged he’s fully healthy for the first time since his sophomore season. He had flashes last season, such as a 93-yard TD run against Ohio State, but battled injuries much of the year.

TCU coach Gary Patterson has repeatedly said this is the best he’s seen Anderson run, and Anderson agreed.

“I do feel a lot faster, stronger just from coming off the injury,” Anderson said.

Now it’s on Anderson to build off his performance at Purdue, and continue growing into a complete running back. Patterson has seen strides taken in that department.

“Yeah, I think both of them, [Darius] and Sewo have exactly what you want in two backs,” Patterson said. “One’s more the power guy, one’s more the slasher, but they both ran really hard.

“We can do about everything we need to in our offense with both in the ballgame.”

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