In past seasons Nebraska has primarily used one or two featured backs when it comes to running the football. Last year Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah were the most utilized in the pack. The two combined for 324 of Nebraska’s 662 attempts.
With Burhead off to the NFL, Abdullah is the clear cut number one on The Huskers depth chart at running back. Imani Cross is the probable backup, with his proven abilities in 2012. The Sophomore from Gainsville Georgia provides the thunder on short yard situations, and also has speen to break free on occasion.
With Braylon Heard now at Kentucky, opportunity will be there for two freshman backs looking to make an impression. Terrell Newby and Adam Taylor will both get the chance to contribute right away unless they end up red shirts.
All four of the above mentioned running backs should get their share of carries in 2013 as long as they can earn the trust of Bo Pelini, Tim Beck, and the rest of the offensive staff.
Trust has been an issue with the coaches, as last year shows. Abdullah carried most of the burden with Burkhead being injured must of last season. In order to prevent over using Abdullah this year, the staff really needs to allow these young backs to get the carries needed to keep their work horse healthy. It would also allow the youngsters to get game experience they will need to develop into the star backs of the future.
With the versatility of Beck’s offense, balance between the air and ground games is essential. It’s best to get as many of those backs involved for success in 2013 and beyond.
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