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Player Profile - Conner Grems

10/04/2022, 12:00am CDT
By Jon Weisbrod

Week 6 Player Profile - Conner Grems

#2 I Conner Grems


Position: RB/OLB

Year: Senior (Class of 2023)

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 186 pounds

Experience/accomplishments: Two-year starter (2021, 2022), two-year letter-winner (2020, 2021)

2021 Stats (7 games): 13 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD; 22 tackles (16 solo), 2.0 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT

2022 stats (through 5 games): 86 carries, 395 yards, 5 TD, 4.6 YPC

INTRODUCTION: 5 Quick Questions

Q: Why did you choose your number?

“You know, I don’t really have a reason besides Derrick Henry. He wore (No. 2) in college and I watched his tape and was inspired by how he runs.”

Q: What is your favorite uniform combination?

“All white. I think the accessories go a lot better with those ones. I wear a lot of white accessories and I just think they match the combination really well.”

Q: Do you have any family connection to the OHS football program?

“No, I’m the first one through the program. My dad played until he was a sophomore, but that’s about it.”

Q: Are you involved in any other sports or activities?

“I used to wrestle and I’m on the track team as well.”

Q: Memorable phase frequently used by any coach:

“’The sooner we go, the sooner we get out.’ Coach Williams.”

INTERVIEW (from Sept. 14): Getting to Know CONNER GREMS

Q: You just had your first 100-yard game (against Century in Week 2) and after looking back at the numbers, you had close to 50 percent of your production on your final four carries alone. Was it ever frustrating that you hadn’t popped one to that point and what was it like playing in those (wet, rainy) conditions?

“I was getting a little frustrated that I couldn’t cut like normal and I feel like if the field would have been dry, I would have busted a couple more, but towards the end of the game it started getting drier and then I popped a big run. The hole was just there, I didn’t even have to cut. It was just hit it, and go.”

Q: More than anyone, your individual success is predicated on how well the offensive line performs and how long it takes them to come together as a unit. Is there a certain level of patience required to remain focused running behind an inexperienced line, and what have you seen from those guys up front so far?

“I think in Week 1, everyone — including myself — was just out of sorts and things started off a little slow. And then right off the bat last game (against Century), the line got right to it. I think they started coming together in practice the week before and then I think the rain actually helped. It was either we were going to step up and run the ball, or we were going to lose.”

Q: Last year, it looked like you were going to have a chance to at least share primary ball-carrying duties with Dylan (Maas), but then you missed a couple games with an injury and ultimately switched to a full-time linebacker. What does it feel like to finally be 100% healthy and take over as the No. 1 running as a senior?

“I don’t really worry about getting my spot taken, so I can have that out of my mind. It takes a lot of pressure off. But I still feel like I have to run well in order for us to succeed and create certain opportunities for the offense by helping balance the pass game. Everything comes back to me running well and pounding the ball. Because then (the defense) has to focus on me and the linebackers starting creeping up and the d-backs start loading the box. Once that happens, we can just go over the top and hit them with a deep pass. I feel like I put a lot of weight on my shoulders to open things up for everyone else and a lot of different guys can get opportunities.”

Q: Do you know if it was the plan all along to have you and Maas share touches last year, or was the coaching staff still figuring everything out before you went down?

“Coach Williams said I was pushing at Dylan’s heals toward the beginning of the season, but then the injury really set me back. After that, I just started focusing on defense because Dylan was our No. 1 guy. I mean, I wanted to play (on offense) as much as I could, but I had a spot on defense and that was how I was going to help us win, so I really wasn’t as concerned with anything else. I didn’t think too much about running back after I got hurt.”

Q: It’s actually pretty interesting how things have evolved. Last year, you were a full-time defensive player and this year you are a full-time offensive player. That doesn’t happen often, even in high school football. Did it take time to adjust to not playing linebacker?

“I was in the mix as a starter (on defense) for the first couple weeks of practice, but then they pulled me and gave my spot to someone else so I could concentrate on running back. It took a little bit, but I’ve grown into it and I like offense a lot. I still get to hit people, so that’s always nice.”

Q: You’re definitely a physical running back, but you also have good speed. In your mind, what type of runner are you? What are the things you take the most pride in as a ball-carrier?

“I think in the first half, I can pound the defense and make it hurt. And then by the second half I can be a little more of a slasher and juke, fake, truck and then go hit someone. I can slash and cut and I don’t feel like people know that I also have pretty decent footwork. I can move around pretty well and I guess I’m still waiting to fully showcase that. I think I can be pretty patient and then turn on the jets when I need to. In certain situations, I’m rarely ever running full speed. It’s hard to do that between the tackles, but when I get into open space, I can let it go.”


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