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A Running Back By Committee Approach Is Quickly Becoming A Footballing Standard

The University of Utah football team opens spring camp at the Eccles Football Facility practice fields in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah Football program has endured a number of very talented running backs over the years and the 2021 season will likely produce more NFL caliber tailbacks.

However, the game of football has changed over the years. Nowadays, it is recommended for football teams around the country, at all different levels, to make sure that they have a number of backs to carry the rock.

The Cleveland Browns are a great example of this. Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are the best one-two punch in the NFL. They rotate and assure that both players receive a similar amount of carries per game. The strategy has worked in favor of the Browns this season, despite losing their best wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr earlier in the year, the Browns remain alive in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy in large part due to the productivity of their running back core.

The Browns can rely on their running backs to remain fresh late in games because of the rotation that occurs during the first three quarters. An advantage very few other teams can claim.

Utah Football has struggled with injuries to its marquee running backs over the years. Injuries that can be assumed as a direct correlation to too many carries. Devontae Booker, Joe Williams and Zack Moss all struggled with injuries late in their respective seasons.

They were work horses for Utah Football and carried the majority of the offensive load during every game that they participated in.

Following the tragic passing of the late Ty Jordan, Utah is once again looking for a running back to take off and produce at the college level.

Prior to the 2020 season, the jury was still out on the running back room at Utah. Many assumed that it was going to be a committee like approach by Kyle Whittingham and the Utes, that was until Jordan decided to take over the number one tailback role.

The 2021 season will likely be similar. The players that Utah has at its disposal in 2021 are talented and promising in TJ Pledger from Oklohoma, Chris Curry from LSU and Micah Bernard. None of those players, however, have proved themselves yet. They are all awaiting, albeit patiently, their time to prove to the world just how talented they are.

Which makes for a very excited Utah fanbase, and rightfully so. Transfers Pledger and Curry were formerly four-star prospects and committed to two of the most highly recognizable and esteemed programs in the country.

Hopefully, somebody emerges from the pack and can handle the majority of the snaps. But the first few games of the season will be telling and it may just be that the 2021 football season involved a handful of backs who were able to split the carries and run the football at a very efficient clip.

The game of football is constantly evolving and the running back by committee approach will likely be standard procedure, if it isn’t already, over the coming years.

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