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Ga. Tech's Cox showing he can do more than just block

ATLANTA - There's a good reason Lucas Cox looks like a fullback. It's in his blood.

Cox's father, Lawrence, was a fullback at Temple.

Cox's older brother, Mike, was a starting fullback at Georgia Tech who now is a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Younger brother, Matt, is a fullback at Bloomsburg State.

But Lucas Cox is breaking new ground in the family's tradition of running backs. The sophomore may look like a fullback, but he is running the ball for Georgia Tech.

Cox, a transfer from Connecticut, rushed for 63 yards in Georgia Tech's loss at Virginia Tech last week. In three games, he already has more yards rushing than Mike, a 2007 senior, managed in his four seasons.

Make no mistake, the 6-foot, 238-pound Lucas Cox is built like a fullback.

New coach Paul Johnson took one look at Cox last spring and said 'You're a B-back.' In Johnson's spread option offense, the B-back, who lines up behind the quarterback in a three-point stance, is the closest position to a fullback.

The two A-backs are usually smaller, quicker backs.

Jonathan Dwyer is established as the Yellow Jackets' starting B-back. Georgia Tech lacked depth at A-back, so Cox was moved in preseason drills.

'We have to get the best 11 players on the field,' Johnson said Tuesday. 'Clearly, he wasn't going to beat Jon Dwyer out. I felt he might be a better player than some of the players that were going to have to play at the other spot.'

Cox has been one of the early surprises for Georgia Tech (2-1), which plays Mississippi State on Saturday.

Virginia Tech's defense focused on Dwyer and quarterback Josh Nesbitt in the triple option, but Cox was a surprise as he took the pitches from Nesbitt and had five carries for 63 yards.

Cox said he was surprised to find himself with the ball and room to run.

'I kind of panicked,' Cox said. 'I didn't know what to do in the open field.'

He said he quickly discovered a simple answer.

'North-south,' he said. 'Just run north-south.'

Cox also caught a 2-point conversion to tie the game late before Virginia Tech escaped with a 20-17 win last Saturday.

Cox already has seven carries for 85 yards; Mike Cox had six carries for 48 yards last season and only 63 yards rushing for his career.

Lucas Cox is getting the ball, but he says he still ranks behind his older brother.

'Of course he's a little mad, but he's in the NFL,' Cox said.

It will be a big weekend for the Cox family in Atlanta. Cox said his parents will travel from Lewisberry, Pa., for Saturday's game and stay to watch Mike Cox and the Chiefs play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Bloomsburg State is 3-0 with Matt Cox and No. 10 among the nation's Division II teams.

'His team is undefeated, so he's beating us all,' Cox said.

The family may be surprised to learn Lucas can do more than block.

'Lucas is a good football player,' Johnson said. 'He can catch the ball. He can block. He's not a liability with it when he runs the ball. He might not be the fastest guy out there, but he's run very well with the ball when he's had to run.'

Cox has averaged 12.1 yards per carry with a long run of 36 yards. He says he's as surprised as anyone.

'I never thought I'd be carrying the ball,' he said. 'I always thought I'd be blocking.

'I guess I can see myself as a threat now instead of just a blocker.'