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Will Miles Davis Continue Delivering ‘Hot Hand’ To BYU’s Ground Attack?

Sep 26, 2022, 7:21 AM | Updated: 7:22 am
Miles Davis, BYU Football...
BYU football running back Miles Davis had a career performance against Wyoming. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Redshirt freshman Miles Davis gave BYU a much-needed boost to their ground attack during Saturday night’s 38 to 24 win over Wyoming.

With starter Chris Brooks dealing with hamstring tightness, Davis seized his opportunity. In a game, Kalani Sitake wanted to see a running back emerge with a “hot hand.”

“I think the plan was to see who can get the hot hand and A-Rod, and the offense felt good with Miles running the ball. We’ll do it by committee right now and see who’s going to get us the best chance to get this run game going. We needed something, something to go. The last two weeks wasn’t good enough,” said Sitake. “And you can only blame the O-line for so long, so the challenge is for all of those guys to step up and make plays and find a way to protect the football with ball security and then find ways to make runs and find ways to puncture and then gain yards.”

The previous two weeks, against talented Power Five defenses in Baylor and Oregon, BYU was held to 144 yards. An average of 72 yards in those two games. On Saturday night, coming off the bench, Davis alone rushed for a career-high 131 yards. As a team, BYU piled up 188 yards against a stout Wyoming defensive line that kept Air Force’s triple option attack in check.

Will the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Davis continue to have an opportunity to be BYU’s featured back?

The Las Vegas native has received high praise from Offensive Coordinator Aaron Roderick in the past two fall camps. A former track star, Davis has bulked up while still maintaining his speed that made him a coveted prospect during the 2020 recruiting cycle for coaches.

Last season, a foot injury sidelined Davis until the Independence Bowl. Now healthy, Davis, who once arrived at BYU as a positionless athlete, he’s in a spot to earn more snaps.

“Honestly, I love running back. I feel like it’s a lot easier than receiver,” said Miles Davis.

“It was just a matter of time” for Miles Davis

Teammates like Jaren Hall knew the skilled athlete was going to emerge eventually.

“It was just a matter of time until Miles got a shot, and tonight was it,” said BYU starting quarterback Jaren Hall. “He was prepared and did a heck of a job as everyone saw. I’m really proud of him. I’ve been seeing him ball out since his freshman year at receiver and then moving to running back. To do that mentally and not even skip a beat is pretty impressive and talks a lot about his character and willingness to do what his team needs.”

Davis didn’t expect the hot hand opportunity to come his way, but the offensive coaches kept him in a mindset to be ready for his chance.

“It was ‘Miles, just be patient, and when your time comes, do what you do best. Just go out there, play, and have fun,'” said Davis.

The big question moving forward

Sitake has always been a proponent of having daily competitions at all positions in his program. With Davis emerging last Saturday, and Brooks dealing with hamstring tightness, it’s not unreasonable to think Davis has earned a more significant opportunity within BYU’s offense.

The critical question that needs to be answered for BYU is which back gives the offense the most success against teams like Notre Dame and Arkansas? Of course, BYU will be a sizable favorite against in-state rival Utah State on Thursday night. The Aggies will roll into Provo for the first time since 2018, struggling after consecutive losses to Weber State and UNLV. But the following two weeks will be the actual test of what BYU can become in 2022.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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