Is Running Back Depth a Concern?

Brynn Harvey has established himself as a premiere back for UCF, but the Knights don't want to rely too heavily on the sophomore and are looking for a running back to step up behind Harvey.

There is no doubt about it; Brynn Harvey is THE running back for UCF. As a true freshman, he steadily improved through the season and he should be a solid workhorse the next three years for UCF. He finished the year by averaging over 100 yards per game the last three contests of the season and has some fans wondering if he has the ability to be the next UCF back to break into the NFL.

While Harvey is the premiere back heading into camp, it is the position behind him that is up for grabs. When Latavius Murray transferred several weeks back, he left a gaping hole, as the Knights will scramble to find a reliable change-of-pace back.

"Behind Brynn, we've got some questions and that's what we're practicing for, to see how it plays out," said UCF's offensive coordinator, Charlie Taaffe.

Taaffe acknowledged that Murray's absence will hurt some and he's interested to see who will take his place. As of now, Ronnie Weaver is the front-runner to be the guy giving Harvey a breather.

"Ronnie is a very dependable guy and smart and a guy you can count on," said Taaffe.

Weaver looked much improved over the spring and if he still has that extra wiggle that he displayed at the end of the school year, he will leave camp with the inside track as the number two back. Several other players will also get a shot however, namely Brandon Davis and James Poe, although neither was overwhelmingly effective this spring.

"The jury is still out a little bit on Brandon Davis and James Poe," added Taaffe. "Poe was just here mid-year and maybe hasn't made the progress we've hoped for or anticipated, but we'll see. Things change a lot over the summer."

The wildcard for the Knights might be Jonathan Davis, a 5'8", 200 lb. back with elite quickness, burst and balance. The true-freshman was arguably UCF's most heralded recruit of the 2009 class and the versatile running back/linebacker will have every opportunity to see the field as a runner.

"Jonathan Davis is one of our young guys, an incoming freshman we're going to take a good hard look at at tailback or running back position," said Taaffe. "He had some great stats in high school in Georgia. He's a strong kid and pretty mature, so he might be able to give us something there."

It will be imperative for at least one of these backs to step up and be able to take some pressure off of Harvey, who is a big, physical back, but has not yet experienced the difficulties that come with being an every-down back for an entire season at the collegiate level.

"I don't think we'll ever be a one-back team," said head coach, George O'Leary. "I think we're going to be a two-back team that'll have guys that will carry the load depending on what the situation is."

Translation: The coaches are looking for another back to share the work load. Who that player will be will likely be decided in the next few weeks.


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