The Nebraska football running back room is looking a bit thin these days, but a potential new addition may be coming from an unexpected source. The question is how much playing time will he get?
With the injuries to Gabe Ervin and Rahmir Johnson, there have been a number of players who the coaches have been rumored to be turning to. It appears that Joshua Fleeks might be the next man up.
During the Nebraska football coaches’ press conference on Tuesday, it was hinted that the Baylor transfer has worked out at running back every now and then. And that his role out of the backfield could grow in the coming weeks.
“He sneaks in there every once in a while and carries one, and today looked pretty dang good. So maybe we can grow that role,” offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said.
It is of course possible that Satterfield is just using a bit of misdirection ahead of Michigan. Trying to give the Wolverines coaches one more thing they need to think about stopping.
On the other hand, Fleeks isn’t the first receiver that’s been talked about as a running back. Right after Ervin and Johnson went down Billy Kemp IV made it clear he had no problem carrying the ball out fo the backfield if need be.
For now, Emmett Johnson looks like the man who will back up Anthony Grant. But he only got two carries against Louisiana Tech. For now it doesn’t appear there’s a ton of confidence in the redshirt freshman inside the Nebraska football program.
Nebraska football turning to Fleeks?
Joshua Fleeks running the ball instead of catching it isn’t totally out of the question. In 2018 and 2019, he totaled 18 carries for 43 yards and two touchdowns. He continued to carry the ball on the ground even after Rhule left. Fleeks finished his Baylor career with 29 carries for 88 yards. That’s a decent amount of rushes for a wide receiver.
There’s also the fact that Fleeks has had a hard time getting acclimated to the passing game. He has just one reception for four yards in the Nebraska football team’s first four games. He’d no doubt love to find a way to get the ball in his hands more.
Now we’ll have to wait and see if he could be a secret weapon on Saturday or a decoy.