UCF Football Preview: Running Backs
Since arriving to UCF in 2004, head coach George O’Leary’s offensive success has been carried by a strong running game. Entering the 2012 season, the back field’s depth chart is loaded with talent.
Returning seniors Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey combined to rush for over 1,100 yards and 11 scores in 2011 and are looking to increase their totals in 2012. The rotation last season featured a three-man system that seemed to keep each ball carrier fresh. Replacing the graduated Ronnie Weaver in this seasons rotation is sophomore transfer from Miami, Storm Johnson.
Harvey returned to the running back mix in 2011 after missing all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Bouncing back strong last year, Harvey led the trio of backs with 126 carries and 574 yards. Making just five starts (appearing in 11 games) Harvey scored three touchdowns while also hauling in 13 passes for 103 yards.
As if battling back from injury last season wasn’t a big enough challenge, Harvey enters training camp 2012 with the challenge of competing for the starting job.
While Murray wasn’t the Knights leading rusher in 2011, he did lead the team in yards per carry (5.6 yards per attempt) while also leading running backs in receptions and receiving yards. With 17 grabs averaging 14.2 yards per, Murray tallied a total of 242 receiving yard with one touchdown.
Like Harvey, Murray enters camp looking to earn the starting job. He looks to be the early front runner for the job, but staying put in the starting lineup will require putting up numbers right away.
The one time scout team play of the year at Miami now finds himself in the mix to earn a starting job in 2012. Due to transfer rules, Johnson missed the 2011 season but worked out on the UCF scout team.
In his one season at Miami, Johnson rushed nine times for 119 yards while appearing in 10 games. Perhaps the most electric runner on the roster, Johnson has to prove he can be more than just a scout team hero. If all his abilities translate from the practice field to real game situations, Johnson could take over the starting job before the seniors even graduate.
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