When people think of Stanford's power running attack, they think of Toby Gerhart or Tyler Gaffney. Big backs capable of pounding the ball between the tackles. Or they may even think of Stepfan Taylor, a short, but powerfully built, player that was also a heck of an inside runner.
When thinking about those guys, Bryce Love would not seem like the greatest fit for Stanford's offense based on his size (5'9" and around 180). But size can often be deceiving.
What kind of player are the Cardinal getting in Love?
Bryce Love - 4 star running back
Let's get the size part out of the way first. It's the obvious question. There is no doubt that Love is not the biggest back for a team that runs out of the I-formation. Love runs a lot bigger than his size though. He fights for extra yards and frequently breaks arm tackles. He even broke out a nasty stiff arm at times. He also has shown himself to be a good inside runner.
Even though he has very good speed and can break off big runs, he's not doing it by constantly bouncing outside. He does a great job of reading blocks and taking what the defense gives him. He plays in a much different offensive scheme in his high school that isn't exactly close to what Stanford does, but the elements of him following a guard up through the hole and cutting off of that block is not that different than him cutting off the block of a fullback on an iso play. He also has great feet that really help in this area too. His lateral agility is very good.
Love is also a slippery player in the open field. It's evident when he catches the ball out of the backfield, which he didn't do too often, but he certainly made an impact when he did. He'll be a tough player to tackle in space and could be a dangerous player in the screen game.
Whether his body can take the pounding of being a feature back is up for debate, but I don't see anything on film that makes me think Love can't fit into and be a great player in Stanford's offensive scheme. He's talented enough to earn some carries as a freshman before taking on a bigger role.