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Terrance West Compares Himself to Frank Gore in Greg Roman's Offense


Frank Gore is a five-time Pro Bowler. Three of those times, he had Greg Roman to thank along the way.

With Roman setting up the offense and calling the plays in San Francisco from 2011 to 2014, Gore topped 1,000 yards each year and rumbled for 29 touchdowns. He was a bell-cow back, never dipping below 250 carries in a single season.

So what does Gore have to do with the Ravens?

"[Roman] was up there with Frank Gore, and that's who I compare my game to is a Frank Gore-like guy," running back Terrance West said Monday. "He's patient, he has great vision, and people sleep on that speed. He can take it the distance."

West broke out in his first full year with the Ravens last season, running 193 times for 774 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged a career-high 4.0 yards per carry.

Now he's looking to take the next step and be a game-changing back, and there's reason to believe he can. Though West is with his third NFL team, he's still just entering his fourth season. At just 26 years old, he hasn't hit his ceiling yet.

The 2014 third-round pick shed about 12 pounds, but simultaneously added muscle. He's now down to around 220-225 pounds, which was where he tipped the scales when he starred at nearby Towson University.

West has also worked hard on improving his pass protection this season, which Running Backs Coach Thomas Hammock said should keep him on the field more. He has also honed in on his route-running, taking notes from veteran Danny Woodhead.

"I think he is steadily improving," Head Coach John Harbaugh said of West. "Even physically, he is improving. He's maturing. He has worked really hard in the offseason."

The biggest change for West may be the Ravens' altered scheme and recommitment to the run game. Part of the equation in how big a year West will have is how many times he'll be fed the ball.

Baltimore's run game has struggled the past couple seasons. The Ravens finished 28th in rushing yards per game (91.4) and 21st in yards per attempt (4.0) last year. The Ravens had the third-fewest attempts in the league, setting a new franchise low.

"I'm from Baltimore, so I've been a Ravens fan all my life," West said. "We've got to get this run game back going the way it used to be."

The hiring of Roman, who is well-known for helping the 49ers and Buffalo Bills establish two of the league's best run games, should go a long way in reversing that trend.

Baltimore shifted its running attack under former Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak to be a pure stretch-zone scheme. They practiced it over and over, and it worked well. When Kubiak left after the 2014 season, the Ravens kept his system in place and just made some minor tweaks under Marc Trestman and then Marty Mornhinweg.

Now with Roman on board, the Ravens will use just about every run scheme and look known to football. Roman uses it all to create mismatches and keep opponents off balance. West said Roman's scheme will be a "big advantage" this year.

"Downhill, keep my pad level forward to the field," West said. "That's the way I like to run; that's how it was at Towson."

Harbaugh said it's too early to tell right now how far the run game has come this offseason. The players aren't going 100 percent in blocking or defending against it. When the Ravens kick off their preseason slate Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, they'll get their first true indication.

"It is a point of emphasis," Harbaugh said. "We have been working really hard at it, and I like what we are doing. I really do. I like the way it is being coached, and I like the way the guys are working on the drills. And proof will be in the outcome."

With the season-ending injury to Kenneth Dixon (knee), Woodhead and West will likely see more carries than they would have otherwise. The Ravens also like what they've seen from Javorius Allen and undrafted rookie Taquan Mizzell.

Hammock was asked Monday whether he could see West, who says he gets stronger as games go along, could handle 20 to 30 carries per game.

"Certainly. Terrance, in college, I think he might have had 500 carries," Hammock said. "I'm exaggerating, but he certainly can handle the load. He has proven that."

West had a message for fantasy football owners out there deciding where they should draft him.

"Ya'll be smart to grab me. That's the smart way to do it," he said with a smile. "Why's that? You'll see."

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