- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) - Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood is depending on Dy’Shawn Mobley and Bennie Coney to help return the Colonels to the FCS playoffs.

Mobley was named the Ohio Valley Conference offensive player of the year as a junior. The former Kentucky running back rushed for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns as the Colonels went 9-4 and reached the playoffs before losing 36-16 to Indiana State.

No longer under the radar, Mobley knows opposing defenses will key on him this season.

“I know I’ve got a target on my back,” Mobley said. “I just trust my offensive line. They’re going to take up for me each and every Saturday. We’re working together to have the best rushing offense in the OVC.”

While Mobley will be counted on to carry the ball, Cincinnati transfer Coney takes over at quarterback after splitting time with Jared McClain last season. Coney threw for 1,185 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 contests.

Coney said Mobley’s running makes it easier for the offense.

“When you have a guy like him, it takes the load off,” Coney said. “We’ve got the best running back you could ask for.”

Hood agreed, adding that Mobley’s presence brings “unity and chemistry” to the offense.

“He’s a complete back,” the eighth-year coach said. “He’ll block in pass protection, block for other runners, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, he’s tough and cares about his teammates. Because of that, our line wants to block for him.”

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Some things to watch with Eastern Kentucky this season:

LANE SHIFT: Sophomore running back Adam Lane recently transferred from Florida and is immediately eligible. Lane was the Birmingham Bowl MVP after leading the Gators past East Carolina 28-20 with 109 yards rushing and a touchdown. He ran for 181 yards on 24 carries overall.

TALKING DEFENSE: The Colonels return all-OVC cornerback Stanley Absanon, who had four interceptions in a 17-10 win over Miami (Ohio). The unit also added Ohio State transfer Noah Spence, a first-team all-Big Ten performer in 2013 after making eight sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.

TOUGH FOES: The Colonels will play two FBS opponents within the season’s first six weeks. EKU plays at North Carolina State on Sept. 12 and travels to nearby Kentucky on Oct. 3.

LOOKING TO ADVANCE: EKU has made the postseason three times under Hood but has lost its past seven playoff openers dating back to 1994.


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