Nebraska football went from being extremely comfortable at running back to panicky and chaotic overnight.
Sophomore running back Aaron Green intends to transfer to one of numerous schools in the south Great Plains. As a result, the battle for the backup running back role behind Rex Burkhead is settled, with Ameer Abdullah the only other running back on the team with playing time in 2011.
Beyond Abdullah, however, the running back depth chart is murky. Incoming freshman Imani Cross may be forced to forego a redshirt season to provide depth after Braylon Heard moved to cornerback in the off-season. Fullbacks Mike Marrow, C.J. Zimmerer and Graham Stoddard are the only other backfield players likely to see the field.
Marrow offers a heavy power running style that could result in him taking a few carries. Most of the reps with be doled out between Abdullah and Burkhead, however, with little relief likely.
In addition, Nebraska will have to focus on bringing in one or more running backs in the 2013 recruiting class to make up for the deficit created by Green’s transfer and Heard’s position move.
Another option for Nebraska’s coaches is a move back for Heard, or a position move for another player. Former athlete Jamal Turner currently sits on the border of gaining a starting role in the slot, but is still a step behind Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa for a spot out wide. Turner’s speed and shiftiness would be nice at running back, but it appears as though coaches want him in the slot or at quarterback, not as a running back.
The Huskers’ top-15 rushing attack may take a hit as a result. But, for the time being, it looks like Nebraska might have to sit tight with what it has.
By Chris Peters
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Topics: 2012, Aaron Green, Ameer Abdullah, Big Ten, Bo Pelini, Braylon Heard, College Football, Depth Chart, Huskers, Huskers Blog, Imani Cross, Mike Marrow, Nebraska, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Recruiting, Rex Burkhead, Roster, Top 25, Transfer