Cards staying with three-headed monster at RB

The University of Louisville football coaches wanted to get to the point of just using two running backs. But with all three backs performing well, the staff has scrapped that idea. Cardinal Authority has the latest from Shawn Watson.

In a recent game against Eastern Kentucky, the University of Louisville offense managed just a dismal total of 78 rushing yards.

Oh, how things have changed in just three weeks.

Prior to the season, the Cardinal backfield looked to be one of the team's strongest areas. The unit was returning Dominique Brown, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and Senorise Perry, who made an unbelievably speedy recovery after tearing his ACL against Syracuse last November.

Excitement over the Cardinal ground game piqued when word came out in early August that former Auburn running back Michael Dyer would be joining the fold. At Auburn, Dyer was a two-time 1,000-yard rusher and a BCS National Championship Game MVP.

Despite concerns over team chemistry and the division of touches, the production the trio would offer was never questioned- until the 78-yard performance against EKU.

Following the struggles against the Colonels, the U of L coaching staff told the media they wanted the offense to feature only two backs going forward, as opposed to the three-back attack they had used in their first two games.

That plan has since been derailed, as the trio has performed spectacularly in their last two outings against Kentucky and Florida International- rushing for 452 yards and five touchdowns between them.

"We tried to cut it down (to two backs), and all those guys got competitive," offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "It's made our football team better."

"Now we're a three-headed monster and we're going to play all three of them. We're going to get them all out there like we have the last tow games and if someone under-performs, he'll have to sit and watch the other two play."

Dominique Brown, who had a career-long 77-yard run against FIU, noted after the game that the chemistry amongst the three running backs has played a large role in the newfound success.

"We've got great chemistry in the (running back) room," Brown said. "We're pretty much each other's coaches on the sideline. We feed off of each other."

Now that they have shown what they're capable of doing within their individual role, results will be demanded out of Brown, Perry, and Dyer every week- or they may just find themselves out of the rotation.

"It's survival of the fittest," Watson said. "It's all about competition and what you bring every day to practice and what you do in a game."

The Cardinal running back trio could be in for another big game next week when they travel to Temple. The Owls (0-3) have allowed opponents an average of 202 rushing yards-per-game on the season.


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