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Crowded Backfield Must Be Ready to Deliver

 
Aug. 12, 2014

Video - Day Eight with Assistant Coach Kolby Smith

LOUISVILLE, Ky.- Most teams are lucky to have one of two good running backs in their backfield. The University of Louisville football team must be very fortunate because they have five capable backs to lead the team in 2014.

After the team's first scrimmage on Monday evening, the talent was on full display as the Cardinals recorded about 300 yards rushing in the over 100-play scrimmage.

Seniors Dominique Brown and Michael Dyer are the veterans of the group, but the Cardinals have talented youngsters in sophomore Brandon Radcliff, freshman L.J. Scott and sophomore Corvin Lamb.

Each did good things in the scrimmage, including Radcliff who ripped off the game's longest run, and Dyer who had the prettiest run when he spun away from a defender and created extra yardage. Brown also looked powerful and explosive during his carries.

"It's a great backfield," Brown said following Tuesday's practice. "We have five very good backs in this system. When one goes down, we have another one step in."

Brown led the unit last season with 825 yards and eight touchdowns and recorded a pair of 100-yard games. Dyer saw limited action after injuries slowed him down, but still rushed for 244 yards. Radcliff and Lamb saw limited action last season, and Scott was impressive in the spring after enrolling in January.

Brown looks to be the workhorse this season, entering fall camp at 233 pounds and looks to be in the best shape of his career.

However, at 6-foot-3, Brown has one area he works at every day in practice.

"Just running lower," Brown said. "It was a big emphasis in the spring and it carried over into fall camp. Kolby (Smith) tells me all the time not to run with all of 6-foot-2. I've been working on it. It's been a work in progress,"

 

 

It's the same area that Michael Bush worked on all the time when he was the horse in Petrino's "Feed the Studs" offense.

"I'm learning," Brown said. "We do our drills like that with coach Smith. Running under the chute and staying low."

In Petrino's offensive system, he wants the Cardinals to be balanced, but the fifth-year head coach takes pride in running the football. His great team's loved to run the football, and they were good at it. Petrino's 2004 team, which finished at 11-1, averaged 250.4 yards per game on the ground and his best team in 2006 averaged 185.3 yards on the ground.

So, the Cardinals are going to run the football this year. "We all just worried about being physical," Brown said. "We know we are going to run the ball in Petrino's system. When our number gets called, we just have to make plays and make big plays."

Entering the second week of practices, everyone is sharing the load. That might not be the case when the season starts, but no one is worried how that is going to play out right now.

"We really don't know, especially with the Petrino system," he said. "He likes all of us. He's gives all an equal amount of shares ... it's going to be his decision if he wants one guy to emerge.

"Especially with the guys that we have, anybody could go out there pretty much and play and we won't miss a beat. It's great to have that versatility in the room. That's why I think we're good as a room collectively. Everybody brings something to the table."

Whoever is the one carrying the ball, they better run hard and with an attitude, because there are plenty of running backs that can take their place.

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