First order of business for Porter: juggling
Porter has stepped into a backfield loaded with potential issues.
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Few assistant coaches in the country can produce a recruiting resume as sparkling as the one Larry Porter brings to the Forty Acres, writes Max Olson. Blog
Welcome to Texas, where there is an embarrassment of riches that have done nothing but left the fan base red-faced in frustration as of late. Everybody, clearly players included, wants more.
And now it is Porter’s job to give it to them. All of them, that is. The newly appointed running backs coach, while heralded as an excellent recruiter, first must figure out who he can use and who he can’t in the Texas run game.
Sure, coach Mack Brown has repeatedly said Texas needs all three. He continually points back to the 2011 Missouri game as his proof. That one game is continually held up as an example of how to construct the Texas running game instead of the anomaly that it actually was.
Additionally, what Mack Brown is forgetting in his finger-pointing at the past is that Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray, the top running backs in the state in their respective recruiting classes, were not meant to be backups. Undoubtedly neither wants to be one, either.
Each has starter potential. Joe Bergeron, not so much, at least at Texas. And then given what Tavon Austin did as a running back against Oklahoma -- 344 yards -- there is more than enough evidence to support getting the ball to the Austin-like Johnson much more often than 2.3 times a game he touched it as a runner in 2012.
Teams have thrived with three backs. TCU has done it successfully for years. But the Horned Frogs didn’t do it when they had a featured runner like LaDainian Tomlinson.
Making a run to the BCS is plausible with two solid backs. Alabama had Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon each average more than 76 yards per game this year. Notre Dame had Cierre Woods and Theo Riddick average 74 and 73, respectively.
But of the 10 teams in BCS games, none consistently featured three running backs. Notre Dame came the closest with George Atkinson III having 51 carries and 378 total yards behind Woods and Riddick. In fact, the majority of 2012 BCS programs had a distinctly featured runner and a backup.
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