ATLANTA -- Broderick Snoddy was just starting to hit his stride last season when his season ended with a broken leg. Snoddy had started to earn more playing time and was getting more touches when he snapped his left leg against Clemson.
With less than two weeks remaining until the season opener against Alcorn State, Snoddy has taken his place as the lead A-back in the preseason. Part of that is because of seniority; he’s the only player at that spot with any experience. But part of it is because of his proven ability to shake off a blocker and use his sprinter’s speed to go the distance.
“He’s about like he was a year ago,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “No big difference. A year older, probably a year more mature.”
The big question is how Snoddy will react when the games start counting and the tacklers aren’t his teammates.
“How do you know until you watch him play?” Johnson asked.
Snoddy, a senior from Carrollton, spent a couple of seasons in no-man’s land. Sometimes he was considered an A-back, while other times, he was used as a B-back. He made the switch to A-back again midway through the 2014 season and began to shine.
His biggest day came against Pittsburgh. He gained 82 yards on six carries and scored three touchdowns. He added 52 yards the next week on seven carries against Virginia and rushed for 37 yards on five carries against N.C. State.
He gained 51 yards in two carries against Clemson, but he broke his leg after taking a pitch to the left side and falling to the ground after a 5-yard gain.
Quarterback Justin Thomas saw it happen and immediately ran to help. The trainers and doctors were on the field within seconds to immobilize the injury and get him off the field.
Snoddy’s leg is now healed. He wasn’t back in time for spring practice but pronounced himself healthy and ready to perform once the preseason started.
“I feel very well and confident,” he said. “It’s pretty much more mental than physical.”
Snoddy was able to run straight ahead with no problems, but it took awhile before he was able to trust himself enough to make the cuts that are needed for success.
He didn’t like what he saw in the first scrimmage.
“I was hard on myself because I was expecting more,” he said.
So he adjusted his approach. He always had viewed scrimmages as more of a game but had seen practice as merely an opportunity to work on things and get ready for the game. He decided to approach practice more like a scrimmage.
“I’m taking practice more as game reps, going full speed,” he said.
The results were favorable. Snoddy gave himself higher grades for the second scrimmage.
“I got a lot of things corrected, as far as cutting, knowing my assignments. That first scrimmage I wasn’t myself,” he said.
Snoddy is starting to resemble the player who rushed for 283 yards and average 10.1 yards per carry a year ago.
“He’s not going to be touted for his blocking,” Johnson said. “He’s there for speed and running.”