After last season, University of Louisville running backs coach Kolby Smith said he wasn't where he needed to be with the depth at his position. But after the first few days of practice this fall, Smith is all smiles.
"I really like the depth we have built," Smith said after Monday's second practice in full pads. "(The top five) all know the offense and have been in it for more than a year, so we can trust them to go out there and know what they are doing.
"And they all bring something different and that's what makes us who we are. I'm excited to see each and every one of them play this year."
Smith just isn't sure who will be getting the carries.
Senior Brandon Radcliff has 1,462 career yards and 20 touchdowns, while junior L.J. Scott is in his third season with the program and junior Jeremy Smith had 270 yards last season after transferring from a junior college.
Senior Malin Jones is expected to be a third-down back, while sophomore Trey Smith is in the mix after redshirting last season. Freshman Malik Williams and Dae Williams have both been impressive in the first week of practice.
"Right now, we plan on using them all but in various roles," Kolby Smith said. "But as the motto goes, we feed the studs. It's been like that forever with coach (Bobby) Petrino.
"Even when I played here. When Eric Shelton was hot he was running, when (Lionel) Gates was hot he was running and then with Michael Bush when he got hot, well you better look out. That Feed The Studs motto has been around here a long time. They all know that going in."
Smith pointed to the Syracuse game last season when Jeremy Smith started and gained 71 yards, while L.J. Scott had two catches for 57 yards and then Radcliff came in for the second half and had 10 carries for 117 yards.
"With a day like that they're all smiles and hugs," Kolby Smith said. "We're looking for that each game this year."
Radcliff was the only running back with a 100-yard game last season but two years ago the Cardinals had four players end the season with at least one 100-yard game and Smith predicts this season could be much of the same.
"That potential is there this year," he said.
Smith said this about each of the backs:
Radcliff: "He has the work ethic, energy and hustle. He's a leader."
Scott: "He's a very intelligent guy. He continues to do good job running and catching out of the backfield."
Jeremy Smith: "He has to take care of the ball and he knows that; he's a great isolation runner."
Jones: "He didn't play that much last year but we see him as a third down back and he'll be in some two-back packages."
Trey Smith: "He has to create some opportunities for himself, which he is doing."
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