While the University of Arkansas is pleased to have four good tailbacks, it's time for one of them to step up and take the job.
That was assessment of Razorback running backs coach Tim Horton after the conclusion of Tuesday's practice.
"I would love for somebody to step up and be the man," Horton said.
Juniors Dennis Johnson and Broderick Green join true sophomores Ronnie Wingo and Knile Davis are the candidates.
"Obviously it is going to be a committee and all four of them are going to play, but you would like to see one of them separate himself and right now they haven't," Horton said.
That's not to say that the quartet has not had their moments.
"It's really funny because two weeks ago I thought two of them had really stepped up and kind of separated themselves," Horton said. "Then the very next week I thought the other two came back and said ‘you are not in front of me.' It is a big week for all four of them."
Horton acknowledged the two who stepped forward last week.
"Last week I thought Knile and Dennis had good weeks," Horton said. "Knile has been dinged up and now he is starting to come back and get healthy again. Now unfortunately Dennis is banged up a little bit. We are fortunate that we have four of them so hopefully two or three will be healthy."
What Horton wants is the group to practice great and that hasn't been the case every day.
"I think they have all had good camps," Horton said. "One of the things that we are struggling with at the running back spot – and maybe sometimes as an offense – is consistency. Like today, we just had one that put the ball on the ground and we had another one that just completely missed a blocking assignment – something that he knows. Just things that you can't do and get you beat."
While the other spots have narrowed down their list of players getting first-team snaps, the running backs continue to get about the same amount of reps.
"One thing is that we practice at such a fast pace and we ask a lot of them in terms of running down the field so it has really worked out well," Horton said. "We are able to sprint down the field like we want, like we demand and at the same time can jog back and by that time we have run a play or two. Really a three or four man rotation works out best with that because they are able to play really, really fast."
But with the season opener against Tennessee Tech now looming in less than two weeks, Horton is hoping he can have his backs lined up.
"I would like to think so and I think it will be better," Horton said. "I don't know if there will be one, but I would like to think it can at least be narrowed from four to two."
That means how they practice this week is going to be key.
"This should be an exciting week of competition," Horton said.
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