Josh Gattis expects game flow dictating running back carries

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Josh Gattis expects the amount of carries running backs receives to be dictated by the flow of a game. Each of the five scholarship RBs Miami has brings different skill sets. Mississippi transfer Henry Parrish appears to be the leader to be the starter in the season opener in just over three weeks.

Parrish was part of three RBs that shared the carries at Mississippi in 2021. Miami returnees Don Chaney Jr., Thad Franklin, 2021 leading rusher Jaylan Knighton and true freshman Tre’Vonte Citizen are competing to become part of the RB’ rotation in 2022. Josh Gattis likes the speed Knighton provides from the backfield.

Chaney appeared to be the future lead RB for Miami before suffering a torn ACL in the second game of the 2021 season. Knighton took over during the second half of the season after Miami lost starting RB Cam’Ron Harris halfway through last season. Knighton carried a heavy load as the lone experienced RB.

Franklin was the primary backup to Knighton late in 2021. In the final two games, Franklin had 15 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown in Miami wins versus Virginia Tech and Duke. At 6’0, 240 pounds, Franklin has the potential to be the short-yardage RB Miami needs. Franklin had 19 carries in the second half of games in 2021.

"“We want as many guys to show us that we can trust them, believe in them and they can go out and execute our offense while to get the groove. If you’re running back in the game…there’s an element to that as a running back…Obviously touches, right game reps you know create real reactions is obviously developed players.You know that’s an overall game float standard you know each game each opportunity is different as far as how many carries, how many touches…The key is just maximizing what you do with the opportunities that you have…we want them to practice and I’m not talking about running the ball.I’m talking about doing the little things running after the ball is thrown down the field hustling down the field trying to get blocks it’s easy to judge a running back based on what he does with the ball in hand but the true details and true level of execution and effort that we want is getting all of our guys to play without the ball.Being able to play at a high level and sustain our style of play that we want.”"

Knighton was the featured back for Miami in the second half of the 2021 season. With more depth in 2021, Josh Gattis should be able to utilize the versatility of Knighton. Knighton is an explosive player with exceptional speed and shiftiness in the open field. Josh Gattis spoke about the returns of Chaney and Knighton after missing spring practice.

"“It’s good to see Rooster back out. ou know obviously the speed element you know seeing his speed in person obviously he’s a guy that can run he can do a lot of different things he’s got a lot of flexibility as far as what he can do as far as ball-in-hand type player. So that’s also exciting.You know Don obviously has been transitioning back in since his injury and now it’s just about getting Don comfortable, it’s getting Don trusting that you know he’s completely healthy getting all the minor aches and pains out of there so he can be as confident as possible in his football ability.”"

Games versus Bethune-Cookman and Southern Mississippi to begin the 2022 season should provide the Miami RBs with sufficient carries for a few to separate themselves before the Hurricanes play at Texas A&M in week three. Reports early in training camp are that Parrish and Knighton are the early leaders at RB.

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Chaney clearly needs to become re-acclimated to playing football after nearly a year away. The battle at RB appears to be behind Parrish and Knighton early in camp. Chaney has more experience as a third-year sophomore than Franklin and Citizen have. Miami has a deep and talented RB corps entering the 2022 season.