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Jolin leads Raider RB trio

The battle to replace Dusty McGrorty as Southern Oregon — University's next featured running back has shaped into a three-horse — race, and a veteran is in the lead heading down the home stretch.

Seniors Bill Jolin and Antar Mahasin and junior Curtis — Stout each have taken reps during Raider daily doubles this week. With — only 15 days between now and the Sept. 4 season opener against Si Tanka — Huron, Jolin is getting the majority of the snaps, Mahasin is next in — line and Stout is splitting time between halfback and fullback.

"Coming out of spring, Jolin was our starter so that's — how we entered fall camp and last night was our first night of really — getting after it and I think we could go into the season with these three — and be very, very good," SOU head coach Jeff Olson said following Thursday's — morning practice.

Another halfback who figured prominently in the Raiders' — plans, sophomore Billy Anderson from Lake Oswego, transferred to Portland — State after last season.

McGrorty has been on the receiving end of virtually every — Raider handoff since 2000, gaining a school-record 5,414 yards on 983 — carries. Monday, he's expected to play for the St. Louis Rams in front — of more than 60,000 fans, not to mention a live national television

audience.

But while his departure may cost the Raiders a certain — level of explosiveness, his odds-on replacement is confident that SOU's — overall production out of the backfield will not suffer a significant — slide.

"We've got a great system," said Jolin, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder — from Alaska who's played in the shadow of McGrorty since arriving in 2001. — "I'm not going to sit here and say I'm Dusty McGrorty, but I think we — have a good chance to have a good running game again this year."

The reserves —

If Jolin starts, he'll be relieved by both Mahasin and — Stout.

Mahasin, a 5-8, 195 pound transfer out of UC Davis, led — the NCAA Division I-AA Aggies in yards (629), carries (143) and rushing — touchdowns (9) last season and will likely be SOU's second option.

Stout, a 5-9, 190-pounder from North Medford High, will — be a smaller, but more versatile fullback than the Raiders have had in — years past, illustrating Olson's desire to spread out offensively.

That depth chart could flip-flop between now and the opening — kickoff, but one thing that will not change regardless of who carries — the ball is the Raiders' offensive philosophy: to establish the run early — and control the clock.

If that means implementing a halfback-by-committee system, — Olson said, then so be it.

"Are we going to ask one guy to carry the ball 30 to 35 — times a game like we did with Dusty and Griff (Yates) before him? I don't — see that, but I don't know yet," Olson said. "I think philosophically — as coaches one of the goals that we've set for the season is we want to — out time-of-possession our opponents by about five minutes (per game) — over the course of the season. So, that still is, 'We want to push the — football,' but I want to put more pressure on people in terms of getting — the ball downfield, getting the ball to the backs out of the backfield — because we've got three kids that are very capable of catching the ball — and making it happen."

Attitude —

Jolin and Stout both carried the ball during SOU's spring — intrasquad scrimmage.

Jolin, who rushed for career-high 245 yards in nine games — in 2001, had four carries for eight yards for the White team while Stout, — who gained 186 yards on 37 carries to finish as SOU's second-leading rusher — last season, ran 10 times for 12 yards.

While neither is likely to approach any of McGrorty's — records, together - along with Mahasin - they may give the Raiders enough — firepower out of the backfield to keep defenses honest.

And if they're feeling the pressure to live up to McGrorty's — legacy, they're doing a good job hiding it.

"(Pressure) is not really a factor because he's done," — Stout said of McGrorty. "I hate to say it like that, but the next guy — has to step up and do exactly what he did."