2. Running Backs
The running backs’ jobs will look quite easy if we expect the offensive line to be as good as we think it will be. The bulk of the carries will be split amongst a trio consisting of last year’s leading rusher Jalen Berger and transfers Jaren Mangham (USF) and Nathan Carter (UConn).
The good news is that it won’t take much for this group to be better than last year’s 3.8 yards per carry and 113 yards per game. The bad news is they’ll need an extra 30 yards per game to just be at the conference’s average in terms of yards per game.
Early down short runs also put this team at a huge disadvantage, making third-and-7-10 a regular occurrence and killing drives right out of the gate.
As I mentioned before, Berger was their leading rusher but was only 14th in the Big Ten in yards. It’s hard to imagine this group being worse than last year, and hopefully success running the ball opens up opportunities for a young quarterback, whoever that may be, with play action being a threat and more manageable third down distances.