University of Louisville junior running back Dominique Brown was part of a four-way battle for the starting running back spot during fall camp, and there were many who figured Brown would be The Opening-game starter.
Now, four games into the season and Brown hasn't seen the field for one snap because he suffered an injury to his right knee just before the opener against Kentucky. He's still unavailable for the Cardinals.
But the running game hasn't missed a beat.
Jeremy Wright, who picked up the opening game start, and Senorise Perry are both ranked in the top 75 nationally in rushing yards a game and has the U of L rushing attack as one of its strong suits so far this season.
"I am big-time happy with them," running backs coach Kenny Carter said. "Those guys are fun to coach, go at it and really work hard. They've been great. They're learning things and can adjust to things in games."
As a team, the Cardinals are averaging 165.5 yards a game and 4.2 yards a carry. U of L ranks No. 63 nationally in rushing yards a game and is ranked No. 18 among teams nationally with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Perry, a former defensive back and speedster, has carried 62 times for 340 yards and three TDs. He's ranked No. 53 nationally at 85 yards a game and is averaging 5.5 yards a carry. His longest rush was a 47-yard TD against Kentucky.
Wright ranks No. 69 nationally at 76.2 yards a game and has carried 66 times for 305 yards and five TDs. He's averaging 4.6 yards a carry.
"They are consistent and they play hard," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "They play with a physical style of running that we haven't had since I have been around here. I know I've only been here for two years and I am sure that's Bilal (Powell) was that way, That's the type of runner you have to be."
Carter said Wright has played in two games and finished despite "being dinged up," including when he was helped off the field against Missouri State. Carter said he was also playing injured late against Florida International.
"He fought through it twice and continued to play, which he has never done before," Carter said. "These guys are tough and both playing very well."
Carter said he was "elated" with Perry and Wright but that doesn't mean the Cardinals don't hope to see Brown back on the field sooner than later.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Brown was second on the team last season with 553 yards rushing and is listed as day-to-day.
"We miss him in the sense would love have him play," Carter said. "When our trainer tells us that he can go, then he'll go. He has not done much (practice) because he's been trying to get healthy."
Carter said the Cardinals are also lucky to have redshirt freshman Corvin Lamb, whose only rush this season was for a 1-yard TD run against Missouri State.
"Corvin's in a situation right now where two guys are producing at a very high level," Carter said. "He's good enough to play for us. But the situation is what it is.
"He's going to be a very good player for us."